Machar tasked with fixing MoH conflicts

Machar tasked with fixing MoH conflicts
First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and SPLM-IO Chairman (photo credit: file)

President Salva Kiir has constituted a committee led by the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar to resolve the conflict in the Ministry of Health that escalated after the controversial suspension of Dr Victoria Anib Majur as the undersecretary on 20 October.

The decision was reached on Saturday during a meeting held by President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Dr Riek Machar and Vice President of Service Cluster Hussein Abdalbagi who was engaged in the disputed restructuring of the ministry.

Speaking to the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), Presidential Security Advisor, Tut Gatluak said Kiir also directed Abdalbagi to continue finding solutions to other issues within the ministry of health.

“An agreement has been reached to resolve the conflict in the ministry of health through a committee formed by the President headed by the First Vice President (Dr Riek Machar) and the Vice President (Abdalbagi Ayii), to continue solving other problems present in the ministry of health,” said Gatluak. 

Conflict escalates

The conflict at the ministry has shown its tentacles with blame games arising from the three centres of power— the minister of health, the vice president and the undersecretary—over the proposed changes which were overturned by the minister. 

By last week, the Minister of Health Elizabeth Acuei issued a statement to stakeholders emphasising that Dr Majur’s suspension was valid and that Dr Samson Baba Paul was serving in that office in an acting capacity.

But under this was a looming operational paralysis as the Central Bank rejected a request by Dr Samson to be included as one of the signatories to the account of the ministry of health. The Central Bank said it had no mandate to effect the changes unless initiated by the ministry of finance and economic planning.

Intervention

In late October, President Kiir directed Gatluak to find an amicable solution to the dispute amidst growing disagreement among the parties – Health’s Minster, Elizabeth Achuei Yol, Abdalbagi, and Dr Anib, shifting leaders’ attentions from delivering services.

Last month, the national Minister of Health Elizabeth Achuei disagreed with the Vice President for Service Cluster Abdelbagi on proposed managerial changes at the Juba Teach Hospital in an astonishing standoff

The conflict reached its peak when Dr Majur implemented Vice President Abdalbagi’s directive to restructure the administration of the health department, including at the country’s main referral hospital when Minster Achuei was on a mission.

On October 19, South Sudan Doctors Union called on the President to resolve the matter to allow conflicting leaders focusing on medic’s welfare to prevent ruining the health service delivery to citizens across the country.

“The SSDU further called on Salva Kiir and the entire Presidency to quickly intervene, find a lasting solution to the differences, and put the MoH back on the right path. The SSDU hopes the Presidency will encourage the MoH leadership to maintain high integrity and professionalism and carry out their mandate for the benefit of the people of South Sudan.” SSDU said in a statement.

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