Juba, 19 April 2018 – In order to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of South Sudan, the World Health Organization country office for South Sudan and Regional Office for Africa are supporting the Ministry of Health and partners to strengthen comprehensive health promotion implementation. This recognises the need for health literacy, community engagement, social mobilization and multisectoral coordination.
In this regard, through a multistakeholder consultative process, the first ever comprehensive five-year Health Promotion Strategic Plan integrating all building blocks of health promotion to address the triple burden of disease, including prevention of communicable and noncommunicable diseases, promotion of maternal and child health, nutrition, and response to public health emergencies in South Sudan, is being developed.
The strategy is aligned with the National Health Policy (2016-2026), National Health Sector Strategic plan (2017-2022), the Boma Health Initiative strategy, Joint External Evaluation (2017) recommendations and other Global and Regional Health Promotion strategies.
Furthermore, in an effort to foster preparedness, emergency response and resilience, WHO is committed to supporting capacity building and development of an all hazard risk communication operational plan and standard operating procedures for risk communication.
According to Dr Suvajee Good, Program Manager Health promotion and determinants of health in AFRO, health promotion is a cost-benefit intervention that provides a long-term return of investment given the effective approach to address the broad determinants of health. ‘Every dollar spent on health promotion, will yield positive returns of investment in 4 to 100 folds depending on the strategic options used to prevent illnesses and promote healthy behaviour, healthy communities and a healthy nation,’ underscored Dr Good.
‘Despite the prevailing challenges, South Sudan has the potential to implement comprehensive health promotion effectively. The Boma Health Initiative (BHI) provides a conducive platform and opportunity to fully embrace and implement health promotion interventions at community level that will contribute towards achieving the universal health coverage and health related Sustainable Development Goals,’ says Mr Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative a.i. to South Sudan.
The Boma Health Initiative launched by government in 2017 with technical and financial support from WHO, is a community anchored health system for sustainable health sector development. Health Promotion on the other hand, is a process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health. Implemented effectively, it can contribute to equitable healthy living that brings viable economic development and healthy environment, while tackling and mitigating diseases and risk factors. It is worth noting that health promotion is not only a responsibility of the health sector but also a social action and political commitment from all sectors.