World Vision has received an ambulance from the UNHCR this year to support the Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Program, specifically the Ebola Virus Disease Response in Ezo County, a part of South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State.
A partnership was forged with the the State Ministry of Health, County Health Department by World Vision with support from the Health Pooled Fund (HPF) that implements the HPF3 Project aimed at providing quality service delivery and sustainability.
The project is funded through HPF with support from the Department for International Development (DFID), United States Aid for International Development (USAID), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), European Union (EU), the Swedish Government and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
World Vision’s work in Ezo County under the HPF has a wide mandate of supporting both primary and secondary heath care services within the county spanning 27 health facilities including one county hospital, four primary health care centers and 23 primary health care units.
Enid Ocaya, World Vision’s Zonal Programme Manager in Western Equatoria State, recalled how Dr. Maad Top, the Medical Officer of Ezo County Hospital shared that most people lose interest in availing of the services due to lack of transport for urgent health needs. Hence, having the ambulance is timely.
Ocaya says, “It is our hope that having the ambulance based at Ezo County Hospital will encourage and increase health consciousness among women and children as it is more convenient for them to get to the hospital during emergencies.”
The county had faced unprecedented challenges in patient referral. With this ambulance, the people will be timely served.
“I have seen the ambulance and I am very happy with World Vision’s support”, says Acting Commissioner Thomas. Thomas commended World Vision for its long standing relationship with the government and local authorities. He emphasized that the ambulance should only be used for emergency patient referral and not for transport.
Thomas Yoseke, Ezo County Health Department Director recognized World Vision’s support for the most vulnerable population especially pregnant mothers and children. He shares, “The county had faced unprecedented challenges in patient referral. With this ambulance, the people will be timely served.” He stressed the need for proper maintenance of the ambulance by the drivers.
World Vision's Ezo County Programme has the largest number of facilities supported by HPF within the Western Equatoria State and serves an estimated 80,000 people living in remote areas of the state.
The county health system over the period has suffered critical gaps in its capacity and services responding to urgent referrals of complicated medical and surgical cases, including urgent maternal conditions due to lack of ambulance service to transport patients with emergency assistance needs.
These health facilities within Ezo County provide health care services to patients, not just from South Sudan but also nearby countries along the border such as from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR) due to due to active cross-border movements. The ambulance has been stationed at the Ezo Hospital since 25 September 2020 after the handover.
This is a strategic decision as the ambulance will enable timely referral of patients from the peripheral health units within the county to the county hospital as well as referral from the county hospital to the State Referral Hospital in Yambio, the capital town of Western Equatoria State.
World Vision manages the use and upkeep of the ambulance ensuring its readiness in time of an emergency. It provides routine fuel support as well as regular servicing to maintain its functionality.
Story and photos by Western Equatoria Zonal Team