In 2022, Amref Health Africa celebrated 50 years of operation in South Sudan (formerly southern Sudan). It is the world’s youngest country, and both before and since gaining independence from Sudan, it has experienced protracted conflict. Despite this, the country has made tremendous progress in improving health indicators including low life expectancy and poor access to health services.
Today Amref Health Africa is at the frontline, supporting the government of South Sudan in promoting community access to quality healthcare through programme interventions and health infrastructure like the Maridi Health Sciences Institute. Amref has now trained 80% of mid-level professional health workers currently working in South Sudan.
This work is only possible with the partnership of the communities where Amref operates, and with the support of other non-governmental partners operating a network of support services which help Amref to do its work with remote and isolated communities.
Peter Claver, head of programmes, Amref South Sudan says that this network of support services can have literally lifechanging consequences:
Ambulances in South Sudan last less than two years because of the state of the roads. And even then, there is a lack of equipped ambulances in South Sudan. In remote areas, it is common for someone to have to ride a bicycle 2km to reach a tree tall enough to climb and get a mobile network connection so that they can call an ambulance. But that ambulance will be 80km away.
Having the option of a flight means that a journey that in rainy season could easily take three weeks to cover by road is completed in just 55 minutes. That is an absolutely critical, lifesaving service.
Read the story of Simon Mbasi
Ibba County is tucked in the South West of South Sudan and borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. A population of over 40,000 people in this county rely on just one ambulance and one ambulance driver. That driver's name is Simon Mbasi.