JUBA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday commended South Sudan's improved health care system and preparedness to prevent and respond to the outbreak of infectious diseases and epidemics.
The WHO also hailed the country's positive efforts in reducing maternal deaths.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said South Sudan' health sector is slowly strengthening with positive tangible results despite being disrupted by over four years of conflict.
It cited reduction in child and maternal deaths from 2,500 per 100,000 live births to as low as 700 deaths per 100,000 live births.
"The country started off at independence with some of the lowest capacities in health. The maternal mortality was one of the highest levels of maternal deaths in the world," she told journalists in Juba after concluding her four-day visit to the country.
South Sudan also on Monday inaugurated its first ever state-of-the-art Public Health Emergency Operations Center to monitor and combat major diseases and help mitigate humanitarian crises.
Moete disclosed that WHO is interested in supporting the country in laying the basis for a health system that will grow in strength and capacity to deliver health care.
Riek Gai Kok, the South Sudan Minister of Health, said the WHO has already supported with medical experts drawn from the region to help strengthen the preparedness and capacity building in preventing and combating Ebola Virus.
Kok said South Sudanese health officials will benefit by learning and acquiring skills from these medical experts from the region which will help in sustaining the PHEOC.
"For the first time we can now collect samples and come out with the results within 6 hours," he said.
The WHO also donated four ambulances to South Sudan to help in emergency situations around the capital in addition to donating some 50,000 U.S. dollars to address some of the immediate health challenges.
South Sudan in 2013 experienced a cholera outbreak that killed over 260 people. Other diseases like hepatitis, meningitis and measles are still menacing people there.
South Sudan has suffered from a civil war since December 2013, which led to the displacement of more than 4 million others.