The African Development Bank, Ministry of Finance and Planning and WHO sign a grant-based partnership agreement to support the COVID-19 response and strengthen health systems for emergency preparedness in South Sudan

The African Development Bank (AfDB), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Planning and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a $4.1 million grant-based partnership agreement for an AfDB-financed project to support the emergency response for COVID-19 and strengthen the health system capacity for emergency preparedness in South Sudan.


“We appreciate this critical support from AfDB and will work closely with all partners to ensure the successful implementation of the project”, said Mr Ocum Genes Karlo, Undersecretary for Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, South Sudan.


The project focuses on strengthening the health system capacity for emergency preparedness by enhancing the capacities for case management at health facility and community level, augmenting surveillance capacities to detect COVID-19 cases, identify and trace their contacts at all levels, and strengthening coordination of the COVID-19 response, particularly at the sub-national level. This partnership complements the ongoing support to the Government of South Sudan by WHO and other partners on the COVID-19 outbreak response.


African Development Bank Country Manager for South Sudan, Mr Benedict Kanu was pleased to recall that “the African Development Bank has stood resolutely by the Government and people of the Republic of South Sudan both in good and bad times, since the country gained membership of the Bank in May 2012. On behalf of the Bank, he reassured the Government that Africa’s leading development finance institution remains willing and ready to stand by South Sudan for the foreseeable future, as both parties forge purposeful alliances with other partners to help develop Africa’s youngest nation and improve the livelihood of its people.”


“Only by working effectively together with its partners to boost health sector investment can South Sudan be able to meaningfully respond to the multiple underlying challenges of its public health system and make the delivery of health care better for every South Sudanese”, Kanu said.


In close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the National Steering Committee and partners at national and state levels, the project will be implemented in line with the national COVID-19 response plan, while building on and strengthening existing community, health facility and surveillance structures and capacities.


The inaugural meeting of the Project Steering Committee which took place virtually on 24 June 2020 was attended by officials from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Planning, AfDB, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Germany, the Department for International Development (DFID), Canada, Japan, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and WHO.


“The COVID-19 outbreak poses an enormous threat to the already fragile health system in South Sudan”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan. “The implementation of the AfDB-Government of South Sudan project will contribute to strengthening the capacity to effectively respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, minimize the consequences of disruptions to the delivery of essential health care services and greatly improve health systems for both universal health coverage and health security”.


South Sudan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on 5 April 2020, as of 24 June 2020 the country had confirmed 1,942 cases and 36 deaths.


Under the leadership of the National Steering Committee and the Ministry of Health, WHO and partners have scaled-up COVID-19 response activities.


“WHO appreciates the generous contribution of the AfDB in helping South Sudan’s emergency preparedness and response,” said Dr Olu. WHO is committed to work closely with other partners in strengthening South Sudan’s ability to effectively detect and respond to public health threats.


For more information, please contact:

Mr Benedict S. Kanu, Country Manager, African Development Bank Group; Email: B.KANU@AFDB.ORG

Mr Ocum Genes Karlo, Undersecretary for Planning, the Ministry of Finance and Planning; Email:

Mr Henry Gray, Incident Manager for COVID-19, WHO South Sudan; Email:


Source: World Health Organization