Editorial: Health in Southern Sudan

Author(s): Ann Burgess, Nutrition Consultant

Most Health Professionals in Southern Sudan deal with a unique combination of health problems in often-difficult working conditions. To the burden of ‘traditional’ infections (e.g. diarrhoea, tuberculosis, malaria, measles, cholera and meningitis), undernutrition and anaemia, and HIV and AIDS are added the traumas left over from the war as well as emerging chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and alcohol abuse.

A recent Lancet1 article summarised the situation – it reported that in Southern Sudan the maternal mortality rate is 2030 /100 000 live births (the world’s highest), the under five mortality rate is 135 per 1000 live births and that there is just one doctor for every 100 000 people.

Southern Sudan is rich in resources but it will take time to improve the health of the people. One thing that should help is to share information on evidence-based clinical practice and this is what this Bulletin aims to do.

In this issue Dr David Curnock describes how to resuscitate newborns and provides a chart for the ward, and Marlou Bijlsma suggests dietary guidance for those living with HIV and AIDS. Terry Theuri summarises her report on the underlying causes of undernutrition in Twic county and gives recommendations that are relevant beyond the area of nutrition. We urge you to obtain her full report. In addition you will find news of projects, reports, and lists of free resources.

The Bulletin aims to be a joint venture between editors, writers and those of you who work in hospitals and other health units. Only you know your most important needs, and ‘what works’ and ‘what does not work’ in different situations. Please tell us which topics we should cover in the Bulletin, and send us case histories, reports of projects, letters and photographs. The Bulletin is still young and evolving – we need your ideas to improve it. We also need your help to distribute it. So email copies to colleagues (or send us their email addresses so we can) and, if possible, print out copies to share with your staff and put in resource centres.

We look forward to hearing from you.


1. Wairagala Wakabi Health situation remains grave in Southern Sudan. Lancet 2008; 372: 101-102