800,000 South Sudanese May Face Reduced Access to Life-Saving Primary Health Care by June, IOM Warns

A new-born baby receives its first vaccination at an IOM-operated clinic inside the Protection of Civilians site in Malakal, South Sudan. Photo: IOM 2021/Aleon Visuals

Juba – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) warns that more than 800,000 people in South Sudan who rely on IOM for their health care may face reduced access to life-saving services by June if urgent calls for humanitarian funding are not met. 

Internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and conflict-affected populations already living in dire situations may soon face even greater danger to their lives and health due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the onset of the rainy season and floods. 

Women and children, the elderly and people living with disabilities are at risk of losing access to primary health-care services. These services include maternal and child health, including the screening of children under five to detect malnutrition; sexual and reproductive health services and testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. 

IOM provides these essential services in former UN Protection of Civilian sites, host communities as well as remote and hard-to-reach locations serviced by the Organization’s mobile rapid response teams. The upcoming rainy season brings with it higher risk of cholera, malaria and respiratory infections which can have devastating impacts. 

“In the past year, we have learned the hard way that when some people don’t have access to health services, everyone can be at risk,” said Jacqueline Weekers, Director of Migration Health for IOM.  

“Health is not a luxury, it’s a right and a necessity. We must mobilize to ensure no one is left behind.” 

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, South Sudan’s health system was already overwhelmed and heavily dependent on humanitarian actors who now face troubling funding shortfalls.  

Today (04/05), IOM has issued an urgent appeal for funding to be able to continue providing impactful, cost-effective health-care services to the most vulnerable populations in South Sudan. 

IOM is a key partner providing health services in the country and, should the Organization no longer be able to provide these services due to lack of funding, it will leave a huge gap and put the vulnerable in a desperate situation.  

“Our capacity to respond depends on the availability of resources; should we have to withdraw our services, we could have an even bigger humanitarian crisis on our hands,” said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s Chief of Mission in South Sudan.  

”We also risk losing the gains made in providing access to adequate primary health care in South Sudan and toward the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. Never has it been more important for us to rally together and show our support to the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese whose lives are at risk.” 

IOM requires USD 744,175 per month to continue to provide life-saving health care. This amounts to roughly USD 11 per beneficiary per year, significantly lower than the price approved by the Health Cluster of USD 63.50 per beneficary per year, attesting to the cost-effectiveness of the Organization’s work which is critical in an already constrained funding landscape. 

Click here to read the Urgent Appeal for Funds for Health Activities in South Sudan.  

For more information, please contact:  

LiatilePutsoa at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 929 4444 02, Email: