By Paul Obi in Abuja
The federal government at the weekend said efforts are in top gear to intervene in South Sudan’s health care sector by assisting the country to fix its dilapidated health system ravaged by prolonged war.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, promised that government is ready to rigorously engaged the Republic of South Sudan in tackling many of its fallen health care system.
Adewole gave the assurance in Abuja during a meeting of high level ministerial team led by South Sudan’s Minister of Health, Dr. Riekgai Kok.
The minister stated that all the challenges besieging the South Sudan health sector would be attended to by the Nigerian government as part of its intervention in that country.
He explained that Nigeria would deploy the resources at its disposal both human and capital towards making sure that the obstacles are reduced to the barest minimum.
According to Adewole, “We are willing to support you, it is our duty, it is only Africans that can develop Africa, and we have to do it.’’
Earlier, the South Sudanese Minister of Health acknowledged the contributions and vital role played by Nigeria during South Sudan struggle for independence, describing it as immeasurable and dependable
Kok said: ‘‘For those of you who may not know, Nigeria has been supporting the course of the people of South Sudan, before its conception. In 1990s all the way until the birth of the new nation in 2011, Nigeria played a pivotal role in the search for just and lasting peace.”
He stressed that South Sudan suffered persistent policy of deliberate neglect and institutionalised marginalisation since the independence of Sudan in 1956 adding that, as a result, the country was enmeshed in decades of devastating war that led to loss of millions of human lives, massive displacement of people, destruction of both physical and social infrastructure, and loss of human resource development opportunities, including the loss of experienced health professionals.
The minister added that given the role that Nigeria had played in supporting South Sudan, even before its conception, there is optimism that Nigeria can play a tremendous role in supporting the development of healthcare delivery in both public and private sectors.
Kok appealed to the leadership of the health sector in Nigeria and the federal government to assist South Sudan in scaling up production of mid-level healthcare professionals and task shifting, and also deployment of specialists and consultants and other allied healthcare professionals to support service delivery at teaching and state hospitals in South Sudan.
He also extended an invitation to Adewole for a visit to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, stating that, Nigeria has a prominent role to play in the development of the African continent, with South Sudan on top of the list of beneficiaries looking up to Nigeria as a big brother.