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TNLA told to increase budget for health to tackle tropical diseases

The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) has been urged to increase annual budget allocation to the health sector to enable it to eliminate endemic neglected tropical such as guinea worm and trachoma diseases across the country.

The undersecretary for the national ministry of health, Ader Macar Aciek said on Wednesday that amid the shrinking external funding the national legislative assembly should urgently consider increasing the budget of the health sector.

Aciek was speaking at Pyramid Hotel during the fifth celebration of the World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day under the national theme, “Unite, Act, and Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases”.

He revealed that South Sudan is burdened with 19 Neglected Tropical Diseases such as guinea worm, trachoma, onchocerciasis, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis.

Malek Santo, the director general for international health in the national ministry of health, said that they have been collaborating with development partners over the past years to tackle the threat of neglected tropical diseases.

“What we are doing today is to show our commitment to fight neglected tropical diseases in South Sudan, it is a fight that need all of us, the people, the resources, we need to help vulnerable people who are victims of neglected tropical diseases,” Santo said.

Luka Manoja, a member of the parliamentary committee on health and population said that the annual budgetary allocation to the health sector has been declining over the years.

“Our budget has been declining from 2011 up to now, originally it was 4.2 percent, believe me or not we are not happy with this 2 percent of the national budget accorded to the ministry of health,” Manoja said.

He said the lion share of the health budget is being funded by donors as the government contributes meager 2 percent of budget funds.

“The fact that we produce oil has given others to believe that we have the resources to do the minimum,” Manoja said.

Mutale Nsakashalo Senkwe, the technical officer for the World Health Organization (WHO) said that multi-sectorial action is required to tackle tropical diseases.

“South Sudan is contributing to the interventions that are working for neglected tropical diseases, we need to know that interventions to prevent and control endemic tropical diseases are one of the best ways that we have in global health,” Senkwe said.

In June 2023, health workers in a treatment drive carried out door-to-door mass immunization against bilharzia among children.

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