20th September 2021
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Govt urged to increase health, education budget

Authors: UNICEF report | Koang Pal Chang | Published: Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A weekly session of the Council of Ministers in Juba - Credit | File Photo

A report by UNICEF has suggested that the government should increase national budget allocations for key social sectors such as education and health to improve women and child health.

The Situation Analysis report presents an update of the situation of children and women in South Sudan.

The report was launched at an event organized at UNICEF on Tuesday, under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and Planning  and the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.

According to UNICEF, the report looks at the progress, challenges and opportunities, and the patterns of deprivation that children face, particularly those children most at risk of being left behind.

The Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Ocum Genes Karlo says the report looks into child rights gaps that must be addressed.

“The Situation Analysis report analyses the child rights gaps that must be addressed and shed light on the specific sectors and policies that need to be strengthened and funded to ensure an equitable South Sudan for all its children,” said Mr Ocum.

“The report stresses the importance of increased national budget allocations for key social sectors such as education and health.”

The Under-Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Ms Ester Ikere Eluzai says the report presents a defining moment for the country.

“This is a defining moment for South Sudan. We have just completed our first decade of independence,” said Ester.

“This report will galvanize policy makers in our country to prioritize the voices of children, women, persons with disabilities and other key groups, in actions at every level towards building a more child and gender-friendly South Sudan.”

The acting UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, Benjamin Kilonzo said the report finding will support national development strategy.

“It is very important that while UNICEF plans for the next country programme for South Sudan as part of the upcoming UN Sustainable Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) to support the National Development Strategy,” said Kilonzo.

“We prioritize the crucial recommendations from this analysis to contribute to the sustainable changes the children in this country urgently need.”

UNICEF says the report will provide policy makers with crucial data and recommendations that will inform better planning for national health and development goals.

It also provides key insights to promote and implement equity-sensitive policies, programmes and budget allocations.

According to UNICEF, the report will guide the humanitarian and development actors in the country to build effective child friendly programmes that respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.

In South Sudan, children and youth up to 25 years of age make up 63 per cent of the population and they represent the country’s greatest natural resource.

Their aspirations, ideas and vision were captured well during the focus group discussions with youth and children, who were part of the external consultation process for this analysis.

The report highlights that one child out of ten does not reach their fifth birthday.

It also indicates that 2.8 million children are out of school, and over half of all girls are married before they turn 18.

The report also includes a list of 16 concrete recommendation to make South Sudan more child friendly.

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