The Government of Japan commits USD 118,200 to CBM toward the building of a new eye patient ward in Juba, South Sudan

15-03-2016
A group of four gentlemen smiling and shaking hands as part of a signing ceremony
© CBM
The Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan, H.E. Kiya Masahiko shakes hands with the CBM East Africa Regional Programme Manager, Davide Naggi as part of the signing ceremony held at Buluk Eye Centre in Juba.

The start of a new partnership

A man, standing, addressed a group of people in a meeting room ©CBM
Dr. Paul Tingwa, former Director General in the State Ministry of Health and Sanitation - Jubek State, addressed the guests at the signing ceremony.
The Government of Japan, based on its continued commitment to support the people of South Sudan, has partnered with CBM toward the construction of a new ophthalmic (eye) patient ward at the Buluk Eye Centre (BEC) in Juba. The new facility will seek to raise the capacity of BEC to provide inclusive and comprehensive pre and post-surgical eye health services to at least 240 people – on daily basis, within the populous Jubek State as well as referrals from the decreed 27 States.

To symbolize the commencement of the joint project dubbed ‘Strengthening the delivery of eye-health surgeries in Central Equatoria State, South Sudan’, an official signing ceremony was held at the Buluk Eye Centre in the presence of the Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan, H.E. Kiya Masahiko; the Minister of Health and Sanitation - Jubek State, Hon. James Jada Eluzai; the CBM East Africa Regional Programme Manager, Davide Naggi; and the BEC Programme Director, Light Wilson Aganwa.

Other dignitaries that graced the event included: Dr. Hillary Okanyi, Advisor to the Minister of Health and Sanitation - Jubek State; the Dr. Salyi Lolaku Samuel, Director General in the State Ministry of Health and Sanitation - Jubek; Dr. Paul Tingwa, former Director General in the State Ministry of Health and Sanitation, as well as Dr. Monday Joseph, the Medical Director at BEC.

The Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan, H.E. Kiya Masahiko also took the opportunity to present a cheque amounting to USD 118,200 to CBM’s Davide Naggi, at the ceremony.

Rebuilding a new

A group of six men pose infront of a hospital ©CBM
A group photo of the key guests in front of Buluk Eye Centre
Notably, as the Government of South Sudan continues to rebuild the young republic, International Non-Governmental Organisations – such as CBM, have undertaken to support the Ministry of Health and Sanitation – Jubek State in the provision eye health care services. However, the burden of ophthalmic conditions in the country remains significantly high as a result of insufficient technical human resources, undeveloped infrastructure and geographically inaccessible rural areas. Currently, only 3 health facilities are delivering basic specialized services for eye Health in South Sudan (Buluk Eye Clinic, Juba Teaching Hospital, Wau Teaching Hospital).

In his address, H.E. Kiya Masahiko was pleased to point out the unique opportunities that exist for the donor community to scale up its support to the Government of South Sudan and development agencies, in the expansion of specialized public health care services that are essential for public welfare, as well as a deliberate focus on mainstreaming disability and inclusion in health care programmes in the country.

“Based on Japan’s history of surmounting numerous hardships, we now feel obligated to help countries that are eager to rebuild from similar situations. I believe with the completion of the construction of the patient ward and theatre by CBM, this centre will become a centre of excellence in the provision of eye health services to the people of South Sudan,” said  H.E. Kiya Masahiko.

About the Project:

The overall objective of the ‘Strengthening the delivery of eye-health surgeries in Central Equatoria State, South Sudan’ Project is to contribute to reducing the prevalence of blindness by 2020 in Central Equatoria State (from 1,6% to 0,75%), in line with the National Vision2020 Plan for South Sudan – MoH GoSS/WHO. The new inpatient ward at the Buluk Eye Centre will be constructed, equipped and functional within 6 months.

About Buluk Eye Centre:

Buluk Eye Centre (BEC) is a specialized health facility operating under the Ministry of Health of Central Equatoria State. BEC is a key referral centre in South Sudan for both prevention and treatment of eye diseases and conditions. Being the only public clinic delivering services five days per week, BEC receives referrals from the whole population of the ten States of South Sudan. Furthermore, BEC in Juba operates with the most comprehensive team of qualified public employees including one Ophthalmologist, one Cataract Surgeon and a team of five Ophthalmic Clinical Officers.

The need for eye health services in South Sudan

A group of men (standing) in open field discussing matters ©CBM
Davide Naggi, CBM East Africa Regional Programme Manager provides a tour of the construction site to the Ambassador of Japan in the company of BEC staff and the Ministry of Health representatives.
Laudable development milestones have been celebrated in the African continent as a result for the ending of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, countries in sub-Saharan Africa continue to grapple with avoidable blindness as a public health care issue owing to a lack of prioritization in health management systems.

The main causes of avoidable blindness and loss of vision in South Sudan are mainly Cataract, Trachoma, Uncorrected Refractive Errors, Glaucoma, Childhood Blindness and Onchocerciasis. As a result of the new partnership with the Government of Japan, CBM will be able to consolidate its efforts in South Sudan toward the elimination of avoidable blindness through the provision of technical and financial support to its partners, such as BEC, in order to strengthen the eye health care service delivery.

“This project is coming at a time when the demand for eye health services in South Sudan is at its peak. We have been supporting Buluk Eye Center since 2011 and the demand for the institutional services has always surpassed what the center is able to offer. The new patient ward is not only timely, but it will ensure that we are jointly able to fast track implement eye health care services in South Sudan through the provision of static and outreach eye health care services, emergency eye response procedures, cataract surgeries and non-surgical eye health care services for the general population, especially for vulnerable groups and the internally displaced people (IDP) in the camps,” said Davide Naggi, CBM East Africa Regional Programme Manager. 

This initiative would not be possible without the support of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Jubek State. This collaboration with Embassy of Japan will not only strengthen the support to the BEC but, also actualize the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CBM and Ministry with to improve the eye-care service delivery within the State.                    

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends one ophthalmologist for every 400,000 people, however South Sudan currently has only three professionals for more than ten million people. CBM will also leverage its ongoing professional training programme in East Africa to capacitate the new facility with local Ophthalmologists, Cataract Surgeons and Ophthalmic Nurses.

“This will ensure that the people of South Sudan have ownership of the project, it is sustainable and inches the country closer to achieving the global VISION 2020 through concerted efforts. Additionally, we strongly believe that no one should be needlessly blind and where there is unavoidable vision loss, such visual impairment should not limit the person’s full potential. That remains our eye health leading principle,” added Davide.


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