Skip to main content
JUBA CITY - 25 Jan 2024

Open letter to the chairperson of parliament’s National Health Committee regarding Juba Teaching Hospital

A patient being carried at Juba Teaching Hospital. (Courtesy photo)
A patient being carried at Juba Teaching Hospital. (Courtesy photo)

My sincere greetings to you and the members of your distinguished committee. I wish you and the people of South Sudan Happy New Year 2024. I hope that it will be a year of lasting peace and prosperity to us all.

I am addressing this letter to your respected committee to draw your attention to the terrible condition of Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH). The situation I observed at the hospital, the only national referral hospital in South Sudan, is heartbreaking.

I was admitted in this hospital on 4 January 2024 after being diagnosed with cellulitis after the swelling of my right leg. My first impression and expectation was that JTH is a national public health facility offering services at an affordable cost and not charging exorbitant fees.

Hon. Chairperson, honestly speaking, this national public health facility is charging patients unimaginably ridiculous fees which many poor citizens cannot afford to pay given their meagre incomes. I am a veteran Journalist who worked tirelessly   for this country but now unemployed after the demise of my boss, the late Alfred Taban Logune, and the subsequent collapse of the Juba Monitor Newspaper, and cannot afford the outrageous fees the hospital charges.

JTH charges an entry fee of SSP 500 at the gate without issuing an official receipt. This charge was not approved by parliament or the ministry of finance. There is also SSP 1,000 for a daily injection and I was operated for SSP 90,000. Dressing the wound costs another 3,000 and a bondage costs at the 1,000 and while am intravenous cannula goes for SSP 500. A patient has to buy everything if you want to survive at JTH. A poor patient is left to die because they cannot afford these exorbitant charges.

I depended on the kindness of friends and relatives to cover the costs of my treatment at this alleged public health facility.  How long will our people continue to suffer? Is this a private or public hospital?

Hon. Chairperson, I am speaking to you from the bottom of my heart because the poor patients at JTH are suffering immensely. Those who have money to cater for their treatment are left to God mercy to survive. Many others are left to die simply because they do not have money to meet the costs of their treatment. I have witnessed patients with treatable diseases die due to lack of money.

The hospital receives donations from NGOs and partners. For example, during the grand opening ceremony in March 2023, a number of institutions and organizations donated drugs, medical items and equipment. UNCICEF and WHO donate drugs every three months. It is worth mentioning that during the inaugural ceremony, the hospital was given over 70,000 mosquito nets, hundreds of stretchers and wheel chairs. Today there is none. A patient has to bring his own from home.

Hon. Chairperson, sadly, as I speak, at the Emergency Ward where I was admitted for 9 days, from 4 to 12 January 2024, there was no single stretcher to carry a patient from the ward to the operation theater. There were no wheelchairs in the ward to be used by patients with a leg illness to the toilet and or bathroom. A patient has to be carried by hand to the toilet or operation theater. Almost all of the donated drugs and equipment disappeared in thin air. Nobody knows where they are except the top administrator of the hospital and may be the national minister of health will have answers for this dilemma facing the hospital.

It is absolutely unimaginable that an important ward such as the Emergency Ward has no single stretcher or wheel chair to carry patients who are in pains and cannot walk. How come a big hospital such as Juba Teaching Hospital operates without vital equipment? Re is lack of fridges or icepacks to store diabetes medicines such as insulin. A ward like WARD 2 which is next to the theater is in complete darkness, there are no working fans and caretakers of patients have to buy candles to light the ward. The ward is not connected to the power grid in the hospital. The killer mosquitoes do not have mercy for patients without nets.

Hon. Chairperson, one of your colleagues, a parliamentarian who was admitted on the bed next to me was also a witness to the ordeal patients are facing at the hospital. His sister shed tears because she could not believe that a constitutional post-holder was admitted in an overcrowded emergency ward with ordinary citizens. We were crammed as sardines.  I comforted and assured her that this is not a bad place but a good place for the honorable member to learn the reality and experience the sufferings of patients that happens daily. This is in in Juba, what about in the states, counties and the payams? We spent terrible days with the honorable Member of Parliament. May it was God’s Plan for the lawmaker to be admitted next to me in the Emergency Ward to bear witness to the suffering of patients at JTH courtesy of the national health ministry and the administration of the hospital.

I have learnt that the hospital has contracted the services of a company called PAMAX Services Limited in a shoddy deal which has seen the government support staff replaced at the hospital. The government workers are rendered redundant and not given assignments. They receive salaries without working. Some have elected to stay home only to appear during salary payments.

Hon. Chairperson, these are facts that I and your colleague witnessed while admitted in the hospital. I have no bad intention to tarnish the image of the health minister or the director of the hospital but to bring to your attention and expose to the public the reality of the situation at the Juba Teaching Hospital.

My humble request to you and the members of your committee is that you summon the national health minister and the administration of the hospital to give answers regarding questions on the contracted company, lack of stretchers and wheelchairs, exorbitant fees, the redundant staff and lack of electricity in some wards.

I would have published my findings but I have chosen to approach your committee.

The writer, Michael Koma Adauto, is a journalist who used to work for the now defunct Juba Monitor Newspaper. He can be reached via and on Telephone numbers: 0981097362, 0916708625