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South Sudan’s Leaders Must be Held Accountable for the Rot in the Healthcare System

In the past, problems in the healthcare system have not attracted much attention from journalists, reporters, activists, or anti-corruption groups. Instead, public attention has largely focused on corruption and lack of transparency in the oil sector and government contracts – two areas where big-ticket spending occurs and where cash goes missing. But it is time for the international community, donors, and South Sudanese citizens to turn their attention to the healthcare sector by exposing the neglect and the rampant corruption within it. There are serious accountability issues within the country’s health system that need to be addressed – especially given that cases of COVID-19 are rising, and the lack of data on transmissions could mean the problem is even bigger than what the current numbers indicate.  A coalition of South Sudanese healthcare professions released a statement to reporters and analysts earlier this month, warning that ordinary citizens – not political or military elites – were dying needlessly due to the country’s “failing healthcare system”. The group cited an array of issues, including a lack of stored blood, the absence of a voluntary blood donation system, a lack of capacity for trauma injuries, and gaps in the availability of ambulance services that are often delayed by police checkpoints.