Time to fix the health crises in the country

Time to fix the health crises in the country
Elizabeth Achuei Yol, South Sudan Minister of Health (photo credit: Facebook courtesy)

The Ministry of Health needs to resolve its internal crisis to be able to address the issues facing some health facilities in the country. The issue that had started with the reshuffling in the ministry and resulted in the suspension of the undersecretary for the ministry seems to be affecting the communication line within the docket as well as the coordination between the ministry of health and its partners. 

You can recall that three days ago, the Minister of Health Elizabeth Acuei Yol wrote to the health partners notifying them about the suspension of the Undersecretary Dr Victoria Anib Majur who she said is still yet to face a disciplinary committee.

The minister directed the partners to coordinate their activities through acting Undersecretary Dr Samson Paul Baba and cooperate with him. The ministry’s internal crisis that started as a result of the restructuring of health professionals in the department in an attempt to address the concerns of the public doctors union who were on strike, is likely to cause some negative impacts in the state in terms of the provision health services.

It looks like there is a serious communication breakdown or there is a bit of resistance to adapt to the new changes made by the minister, that are seemingly affecting the communication channels and the chain of command in the health services provision.

Since the restructuring of the health docket, there have been several reports about the acute shortages of drugs in the states. Recently, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State, Yei and Kajo Keji counties of Central Equatoria State have reported about drug shortage in their health facilities. While in Jonglei State the public health workers at Bor state hospital have gone on strike over three months arrears of incentives.

The health workers discharged all the patients and shut down Bor State hospital. In addition, Primary Health Care Centre from four health counties within Jonglei State have also joined the strike demanding their unpaid incentives.  

Crisis developing

While cases of unpaid salaries and incentives have been a new phenomenon in the public sector, this seems to be more serious and it needs quick attention of the high leadership that will quickly address the issues before worsening the health situation in the country.

Jonglei State is one of the states most affected by the floods and it does not need to shut down its health facility.

It is also important to note that any problem in service delivery institutions will automatically lead to poor provision of the services. Whenever there are problems in an organisation, the communication channel is always the first thing to be affected and this can hurt the operation of the institution.

There will be an interruption of services to the public or the individuals and those beneficiaries become the victims. 

So, there is a need to fix the communication channels in the ministry of health that have been interrupted by the recent restructuring in the ministry. This will also help in addressing the growing health crises in the country not to get out of control.