Juba, South Sudan
May 8, 2021 — The South Sudan Doctors’ Union (SSDU) has learnt with regret another case of physical attack on one (1) health professional working in the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program in Northern Bahr el Gahzal State (NBGS).
A similar incident occurred in the recent past when the Head of Health Sciences Institute was physically assaulted and briefly detained in Awetl. According to reports we received, the State Minister of Health bodyguards violently attacked the said victim leaving him with physical injuries and severe pain.
Efforts of South Sudan Government and its International Partners to control the River Blindness have been effective through valuable contributions of program officers including this victim.
The SSDU condemns, in the strongest terms, this barbaric act of violence and intimidation against a health professional who continues to serve our people despite poor working conditions and low motivation.
Use of violence as a means to resolve administrative issues is unjustified as State Ministry of Health authorities are expected to protect their employees from any harm.
The SSDU calls on law enforcement organs in NBGS to immediately investigate this incident and bring all perpetrators to book. We further request the NBGS Governor, Hon. Tong Akeen Ngor to personally follow up this case and ensure equal access to justice and legal assistance is provided to the victim.
Furthermore, the SSDU urges authorities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and other States to take precautionary measures to ensure similar act of intimidation and violence against health professionals does not repeat itself in the future.
Furthermore, the Doctors’ Union appeals to the Revitalized Government of National Unity (RTGONU) to direct and provide policy guidance to all the States and Administrative Areas to address human rights concerns, implementation of policies that protect healthcare professionals from harm and discrimination and to ensure health professionals are accorded respect and safety.
The SSDU equally calls on all health professionals across the country to maximize caution, avoid situations that may lead to violent confrontation and seek amicable or legal means to address any injustice. We further request our community leaders to always get involved in resolving issues that may affect health professionals from carrying out their duty of care to community members.