South Sudan

Healthcare Information and Global Insurance Options for Expats Living in South Sudan

If you are thinking of relocating to The Republic of South Sudan and living there as an expat, you will certainly be interested in knowing a bit about the country and the status of healthcare there. The South Sudanese are quite friendly and hospitable people. However, you still need to be mindful of the fact that that vast areas of South Sudan are strife-torn and expecting things here to be of the standard of your own country would be just too much to ask for. The five-year civil war has left the country in tatters, but there are glimmers of peace. The country was formed in 2011 after breaking away from Sudan.

In South Sudan, you may find medical facilities, both in towns as well as in remote areas, woefully short of the standards of services in your home country. Hospitals and medical centers are only a few in numbers. Moreover, medical supplies are also severely limited. The country has an increasingly aging population and increasing occurrences of communicable (like malaria, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis) and non-communicable diseases have made matters worse. Malnutrition and related deficiencies affect the lives of children. South Sudan’s medical system is struggling to deal with deficiency problems and aging population-related issues. Internal conflicts, floods, droughts, and violence are common in South Sudan and the healthcare system has to take care of traumatic diseases and demand for emergency healthcare.

Overview of Healthcare in South Sudan

South Sudan has a fragile healthcare system, which now suffers from several drawbacks because of economic and managerial reasons. Prolonged political instability and sanctions have only exacerbated the situation. The total life expectancy for males and females is estimated to be around 62 and 66 years respectively, which is regarded as the average of least developed countries. South Sudan falls into the category of a lower-middle-income country, where the vast majority of the population is below the poverty line.

Key Points on Healthcare in South Sudan

  • Health care systems are extremely limited in Juba and virtually non-existent elsewhere.
  • Note that any serious illness or emergency will require medical evacuation out of the country.
  • Equipment is extremely limited and outdated.
  • Pharmacies are generally not reliable.
  • Blood transfusions are not considered safe.
  • Staff training is unreliable for most medical clinics and hospitals
  • Hygiene standards are not reliable and may be very poor.
  • You will most likely need to be evacuated if you need more complex medical care.

How the South Sudanese Healthcare System Works for Expats

Policies and plans related to the healthcare system in South Sudan come up at three levels – Primary Health Care Units (PHCU), Primary Health Care Centers (PHCC) and Hospitals (which exist as either state, county, police or military).

Public Healthcare in South Sudan

Average healthcare centers are in very bad shape. Frustrated about the crunch of resources, healthcare professionals either show total apathy or in some cases go the extra mile themselves to help patients. In most hospitals, medical professionals treat patients with indifference. Patients may end up spending all their money to buy medicines. Going to a public health facility in South Sudan hasn’t been a pleasant experience for many. Such facilities either lack resources or doctors here are pushing themselves way too much.

Private Healthcare in South Sudan

Private medical centers are slightly better equipped, though they also face scarcity of resources and healthcare professionals. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing every day. If someone is short on money, they will struggle to find quality treatment even at private healthcare facilities. Even if you have enough funds, you are not likely to get the best of healthcare in South Sudan. For all practical purposes, the country now has a healthcare system where patients have to bear the cost of the complete medical treatment, from basic scans to injections.

Pharmacies in South Sudan

Pharmacies are easier to find in capital Khartoum, but you may struggle to find one in remote areas of the country. Once you or any of your family members are admitted to a hospital, your relatives will have to run around to purchase all the equipment and medicines you require for treatment. Oxygen tanks, serums, needles, injections, even blood – you will have to arrange for them all from the pharmacies.

Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats Living in South Sudan

Getting medical insurance before moving to South Sudan is a must. Ensure that the insurance includes adequate coverage. You also need to be clear whether the insurance company will pay directly to medical service providers or reimburse you later for the health expenditure. Expect most doctors to ask for payment in cash. For individual expats, the only plan we would recommend is the Allianz Global Health Plan via our site. If your organization is sending employees to South Sudan for short or long term stays, then please contact us to discuss your options and send us your employee census for South Sudan.