South Sudan

Read more about our Emergency Response in South Sudan

Country History

The First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars between North and South Sudan spanned most of the last 50 years. The latter claimed nearly two million lives and left four million others homeless. The civil war ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), giving South Sudan autonomy and its people the right to self-determination through a referendum on independence after six years. The referendum took place in January 2011 and the Republic of South Sudan became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011. However, despite many successes under the CPA, South Sudan has recenlty returned to violence and remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in the world.

International Medical Corps began implementing programs in South Sudan more than a decade before the CPA was signed. Early programs focused on delivery of primary and secondary health services, as well as the reduction of neglected tropical diseases including River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) and Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis) among others.


Today, International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas focusing on improving immediate and long-term health service provision. Our work in 87 primary and secondary health facilities impacts 11 counties across 6 states on both sides of the Nile River. Through these and other structures, International Medical Corps serves more than 483,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations with a fully integrated package of public health services such as primary health care (including maternal and child health), secondary health care, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, Water/Sanitation, and capacity building programs.


  • Population

    11.5 Million

  • age

    Median Age
    16.8 Years

  • life

    Internally Displaced Persons
    1.5 Million

  • life

    Fertility Rate
    5.43 children per mother

  • Infant Mortality Rate

    Infant Mortality Rate
    68.16 deaths/1000 live births


  • Family and Community Health

  • Women's and Children's Health

  • Nutrition

  • Health Services Support

  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

The 15-Mile Walk:
A mother defies the odds to deliver her baby at a hospital attended by midwives



Primary & Secondary Health Care

International Medical Corps has provided basic primary health care to over 745,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable South Sudanese through 48 primary health care facilities. Primary health facilities in South Sudan provide high impact services, focusing on the health of children and women.

For the last 15 years, International Medical Corps has provided secondary health care for beneficiaries in multiple states in South Sudan. Currently, we support Akobo County Hospital located in a volatile area near the eastern border with Ethiopia. In 2009 when there was an uptick in intertribal violence in the region, International Medical Corps provided critical health care services for the population and continues to provide emergency health services for conflict-wounded patients.

As described by the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration,
“Because of International Medical Corps’ proven expertise in hospital management and deep working knowledge of southern Sudan, the Akobo County Hospital was able to treat 40 trauma casualties within 48 hours of a sudden series of attacks. Thirty-six of those casualties involved gun-shot wounds; and nine of those wounded were children.”

Maternal & Child Health

With 2,054 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Due in part to the high fertility rate, each mother has a one in seven chance of dying in childbirth during her lifetime. Babies are at even greater risk; 25% die from common, often preventable childhood illnesses before they reach their fifth birthday. The high impact services that International Medical Corps implements in primary health clinics in South Sudan focus on improving the health of women and their children. Several of our primary and secondary health facilities also provide Emergency Obstetric Care, ensuring care for women experiencing complications during delivery.

International Medical Corps is helping South Sudan progress toward the Millenium Development Goal of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health through direct service delivery at primary and secondary level health clinics, as well as capacity strengthening programs through the National Health Training Institute in Kajo Keji.


With more than 1.5 million South Sudanese facing severe food insecurity, the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing more than half of the population with emergency food assistance. A survey of the population in Jonglei State along the border with Ethiopia found Global Acute Malnutrition and Severe Acute Malnutrition rates of 45.7 percent and 15.5 percent respectively in Akobo County. International Medical Corps is implementing a Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition project in the county and is collaborating with our partners to provide additional support for inpatients and caretakers at health facilities.

Capacity Strengthening

At every level of service provision, International Medical Corps works closely with local and government counterparts. At our primary health care clinics, the majority of staff members are South Sudanese who receive training, support and guidance from experienced Sudanese or expatriate staff.

International Medical Corps works closely with the Ministry of Health, State Ministry, and the County Health Departments in hospitals and health facilities to ensure that our local counterparts receive on-the-job management and clinical training to foster self-reliance.

After several years of technical support and expansion of the Kajo Keji Civil Hospital, International Medical Corps was able to transition hospital management to the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Health. The facility was renamed Kajo Keji State Hospital and now serves the area’s 200,000 residents under the guidance of a government-appointed administrator.

Medical Training

After almost five decades of civil war, South Sudan has experienced widespread devastation and a breakdown of its health infrastructure. The country now has just 183 doctors, 1,834 nurses, and 309 certified midwives to serve a population of more than nine million (1 doctor/45,000; 1 nurse/4500; 1 midwife/27,000).

The Government of South Sudan and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have made great strides since the end of the civil war. Unfortunately, without sufficient numbers of qualified staff and resources, it is not possible for the MoH to adequately provide for the health needs of the South Sudanese.

With support from our partners and donors, International Medical Corps established and continues to support the National Health Training Institute (NHTI) in Kajo Keji, Central Equatoria State. In order to increase the number of mid-level health professionals, the NHTI offered training programs for students in community midwifery. Several classes of midwifery students have graduated from these programs and are now adding to the nation's nursing capacity.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

International Medical Corps is among the few and the lead organization providing comprehensive mental health services in South Sudan. Our services are integrated with general health services and available to an estimated 306,251 beneficiaries across five sites. Such integrated services are less stigmatizing and more accessible to the affected population. Our team trains national and local staff in mental health using the WHO mhGAP-Intervention Guide and national guidelines. Trained staff also receive on the job support supervision and refresher trainings.


South Sudan Capabilities Statement

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Nutrition & Food Security in South Sudan

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Mental Health & Psychosocial Support in South Sudan

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