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Access to and utilisation of healthcare services in three states supported by the Health Pooled Fund in South Sudan: a mixed methods study

Harry Coleman, Masja Straetemans, George William Lutwama, Maartje Schots, Elsbet Lodenstein, Daniel Jeannetot, Eelco Jacobs
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Accessing and using healthcare service remains a challenge for South Sudanese people, with geographic coverage estimates varying from 29% to 44% of the population living within 5km of a healthcare facility (Integrity Global, 2018; Macharia, Odera, Snow, & Noor, 2017; Ministry of Health, 2015b). Even reaching a health facility, however, does not guarantee access to appropriate care.

In terms of its impact on people’s health, South Sudan has some of the worst health indicators in the world, with the maternal mortality ratio estimated at 789 deaths per 100,000 live births, child mortality rate at 93 per 1,000 live births, and infant mortality rate at 60 per 1,000 live births (Belaid et al., 2020). Improving the supply and quality of healthcare services in South Sudan depends on an understanding of people’s (health or non-health) needs, expectations and behaviours when seeking healthcare.

Both the issues of supply of, and demand for, healthcare in South Sudan confront not just the Ministry of Health (MoH), but the diverse group of funding and implementing partners that have sought to support public health system strengthening.