UNICEF and the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, handed over 80 motorcycles today to strengthen immunization systems across the country. The equipment will bolster the integration of COVID-19 into the routine immunization and primary health care services across the nation.
Earlier in May, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.” As nations pivot towards the long-term management of this virus alongside other infectious diseases, the integration of COVID-19 vaccinations into routine vaccination programs has become a priority.
“This equipment signifies our shared dedication to enhancing healthcare in South Sudan. With the continued support from the Government of Canada and the strong leadership of the Ministry of Health, we are now better equipped to ensure more efficient vaccine delivery and monitoring. The support for the healthcare system, paves the way for a healthier future for children and families in South Sudan” said Hamida Lasseko, the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.
The Government of Canada has generously funded the 80 motorcycles which will be utilized by every County across the country to enhance the monitoring and supervision of immunization services, including the integration of the COVID-19 vaccine at health facilities. Canada is also supporting procurement of 90 solar refrigerators, improved vaccine storage capacity and community engagement activities to increase demand for immunization services.
The Canadian Ambassador-designate to South Sudan, Aly-Khan Rajani expressed “his sincere thanks to the government of Sudan, to UNICEF, and in particular to the frontline health care workers, who worked tirelessly to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and now through recovery and immunization catch up.” He noted “the importance of key outreach tools, like these motorcycles, will help us work together to protect priority groups against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases and to be better prepared to face the crises of the future.”
Furthermore, he expressed the Government of Canada’s pleasure “to support this initiative as it represents Canada’s larger commitment to support South Sudan’s health care system, as the provision of quality and accessible health care services, thereby improving health outcomes for all South Sudanese, which we all agree is critical to the economic and social development of South Sudan.”
COVID-19 vaccine coverage has significantly improved in South Sudan with 73% of the target population immunized. Regular childhood immunisation still requires ongoing efforts to ensure every child is immunized against preventable diseases, particularly as there are increasing numbers of unvaccinated children arriving from Sudan and outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles are on the rise.
UNICEF and the Canadian Embassy in South Sudan reiterate their commitment to strengthening South Sudan’s health infrastructure and systems. Important equipment such as the motorcycles utilize the newly acquired motorcycles and solar refrigerators will boost the health practitioners ability to serve the health needs of children and people across the country.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).