South Sudan policy to rid health facilities of weapons

South Sudan has launched a ‘No Weapons Policy in Health facilities’ to protect the workers, patients and the caregivers.

Speaking during the launch in Juba on Monday, the Advisory on Community Health and Special Program at the Ministry of Health, Dr Samson Paul Baba, said eradicating weapons such as spears, arrows, guns and even stones from healthcare facilities would mitigate the risk of violence.

“The presence within healthcare facilities poses serious concerns to the safety of all within the institutions. We aim to significantly mitigate the risk of violence, thereby fostering an environment of security for all,” Baba said.

The South Sudan International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Head of Operations, Erik Daniel Bunnskog, said the policy would provide a safe atmosphere for healthcare staff as well as guarantee patients’ safety.

“Healthcare facilities should be safe places. They should be sanctuaries of peace. Places that those in need of medical attention can access freely and without any fear,” said Baba.

He added that the presence of any weapons presented a clear danger to all the people benefiting from the life-saving and life-sustaining services.

The ‘No Weapons in Health Facilities in South Sudan’ aims to protect healthcare providers and patients from harassment, threats and violence perpetrated by the weapon bearers.

The policy was developed in 2018 and reviewed in 2019.