Juba, South Sudan, 5 February 2020 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) is financing the construction of the second phase of the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) in Juba, South Sudan.
The groundbreaking ceremony, held on Thursday, was presided over by Elizabeth Acuei Yol, South Sudan Minister of Health, in the presence of the African Development Bank Country Manager for South Sudan.
The Head of Cooperation in the Embassy of Japan, Nobuhiro Kikuchi, various Ministry of Health officials, WHO South Sudan staff and the media.
The project, comprising infrastructure, furniture and equipment, will strengthen the preparedness and response capacities of the country for public health emergencies, in line with the 2005 International Health Regulations.
South Sudan continues to experience recurrent epidemic-prone diseases, and other public health and humanitarian emergencies.
“By putting our collective efforts into a PHEOC project, the Ministry of Health will be better placed to respond promptly and effectively to public health risks and public health emergencies of international concern,” Acuei Yol said.
She said the health center needs the appropriate design and infrastructure to function effectively, in addition to staffing structure and multi-sectoral coordination.
Minister Acuei Yol highlighted the tremendous and ongoing commitments of the Government of South Sudan, the contributions of the African Development Bank and the commitments of WHO and other partners to strengthen mechanisms for delivering a more integrated public health response during emergencies.
Speaking during the ceremony, African Development Bank Country Manager for South Sudan, Benedict Kanu, said: “The support provided by the Bank is yet another testimony of the Bank’s growing commitment to closely work with the Government of South Sudan, a valued shareholder of the Bank, and other partners, to assist to build health system capacity for emergency preparedness in the country.”
Kanu assured the government of the significance the Bank attaches to human development in its partnership with South Sudan and its donors, and indeed, all other African member countries of the Bank to promote inclusive growth and development on the continent.
Since the inception of the $4.2 million African Development Bank grant-financed, project to support the emergency response for COVID-19 and strengthen the health system capacity for emergency preparedness in South Sudan.
Considerable progress has been made, including delivering a wide range of essential medicines, lifesaving biomedical equipment and personal protective equipment.
In addition, with funding from the Bank, WHO is procuring an oxygen plant and vehicles to support the government’s ongoing COVID-19 response.
“Having the right infrastructure in place is important. It is equally important to have the right health policy and programs, so that we can better plan, prepare and respond to address everyone’s health,” said Dr. Guracha Guyo, WHO’s Health Emergency Program Coordinator, on behalf of Dr. Olushayo Olu, the WHO Representative for South Sudan.
WHO appreciates the generous contribution of the African Development Bank.
The expansion of the PHEOC greatly improves the multi-agency coordination and improves operations efficiency through information sharing and joint decision-making, said Dr. Guyo.