Humanitarian Health Action

South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan 2016

As 2015 ended, South Sudan’s people faced multiple threats, including the armed conflict that began in 2013, inter-communal violence, disease and climactic shocks. More than 2.3 million people (20% of the population) have fled their homes since 2013. There are now 1.66 million internally displaced people (IDPs), with 50% estimated to be children.

More than 686 200 children under the age of five years old are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including more than 231 300 severely malnourished. Mortality has been exacerbated by acute malnutrition and disease. Malaria the biggest recorded killer, with more than 1100 deaths reported in health facilities between January and October 2015. Sexual and gender-based violence is also pervasive.

Hunger is widespread. By September 2015 there were 3.9 million people severely food insecure. An estimated 30 000 people face a level of ‘catastrophic food insecurity’ that can lead to starvation, death and destitution.

Health Sector Situation

An estimated 4.42 million people are in need of emergency health care, including people with no access to health care due to the combination of conflict, economic downturn, drug shortages, lack of funding for health infrastructure and health workers, and inadequate vaccination coverage. In addition, some 304 000 refugees are expected to need health assistance in 2016. Displacement has caused a severe shortage of skilled human resources to respond to frontline health needs – there is only one doctor per 65 000 patients.

Displaced people face the greatest challenges accessing health care, particularly in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, Warrap and Western Bahr Ghazal states. Reproductive health and psychosocial services are limited. Women are at risk of dying during childbirth. There are only 12 trained midwives, one anaesthetist and one obstetrician/gynaecologist per 200 000 people in South Sudan. There are no paediatricians in South Sudan.

Health facilities have been attacked, damaged and looted. As of September 2015, some 55% of the health facilities in Unity State, Upper Nile State and Jonglei were no longer functioning. In Unity, there is only one county hospital for more than one million people.

Vaccination, malnutrition screening and antenatal care have been interrupted, while surgery and referral services are limited or non-existent, as are services to manage HIV, TB and mental health. Essential medicine shortages are likely to exacerbate the already critical situation. Communicable diseases are a concern throughout the country due to poor sanitation, lack of access to safe water and crowded living conditions. There has been a notable upsurge in the scale and frequency of outbreaks of epidemic prone diseases, especially in displacement sites where malnutrition and poor immunity makes young children and pregnant women particularly vulnerable.

Health Cluster Objectives

Objective 1: Improve access, and scale-up responsiveness to, essential emergency health care, including addressing the major causes of mortality among children under five years old (malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia), emergency obstetric care and neonate services in conflict affected and vulnerable populations.

Objective 2: Prevent, detect and respond to epidemic prone disease outbreaks in conflict affected and vulnerable populations.

Objective 3: Improve access to psychosocial support and mental health services for the vulnerable population, including those services related to the sexual and gender-based violence response.


In order to maximize impact, the Health Cluster will focus on integrated health and nutrition life-saving packages to support life-saving referral mechanisms and rapid response modalities.

Planned outcomes include:

  • Support the scale-up of disease surveillance, prevention and response at facility and community level, including through expanded immunization coverage in high-risk areas with lowest coverage.
  • Provide support for basic restoration of closed or damaged health facilities in conflict affected states.
  • Address the specific needs of highly vulnerable groups, including severely malnourished children, those affected by sexual and gender-based violence (particularly through increasing access to clinical management of rape), people with psychosocial distress, the elderly and people with HIV/AIDS and TB.
  • Strengthening reporting mechanisms to monitor community-level mortality data.

Beneficiaries targeted by health partners in 2016

Health partners will target 2 355 799 people (811 470 IDPs; 118 093 refugees; 1 426 236 people in host communities)

Health Cluster funding requirements for 2016

US$ 110 000 000 (health partners including WHO)

WHO funding requirements for 2016

WHO is appealing for a total of US$ 17 573 457

Natural disaster profiles

South Sudan - WHO Humanitarian Response Plan 2016

Health Cluster requirements
US$ 110 000 000 (health partners including WHO)

WHO requirements
US$ 17 573 457

WHO and emergencies