Government launches policy to deter entry of weapons into health facilities

The government in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday launched a policy aimed at deterring entry of weapons into health facilities.
Officials exhibit the new policy in Juba on Monday that deters entry of weapons in health care facilities across the country.

By Awan Achiek

The government in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday launched a policy aimed at deterring entry of weapons into health facilities.

The policy dubbed “No Weapons for Health Facilities in South Sudan” aims to protect healthcare providers and patients from harassment, threats and violence perpetrated by weapon bearers.

Dr. Samson Paul Baba, Advisor on Community Health and Special Program in the Ministry of Health said the policy stands as a guiding light of the Ministry’s dedication to fostering a safer and more secure environment for health facilities.

“The rationale behind this policy is crystal clear. Weapons of any kind, including spears and arrows and even stones make people feel anxious and afraid,” Baba said during the launching ceremony in Juba.

Baba said that eradicating weapons from healthcare facilities will mitigate the risk of violence, and foster an environment of security for all.

“Unfortunately, the presence of weapons within health care facilities poses serious concerns to the safety of all who are within that institution, including patients, caregivers, and all other occupants within the premises,” he said.

Mr. Erik Daniel Bunnskog, ICRC Head of Operation in South Sudan said the policy will provide a safe working atmosphere for healthcare staff as well as guarantee patient’s safety.

“To be able to foster a safe and most secure environment within all healthcare facilities in this country, this is a moment that we need to step forward in efforts to protect the healthcare system in South Sudan,” Daniel said.

“Which means medical staff and everybody working in these facilities, they may be patients and people who are in these centers such as family members who are following up the treatment of ill family members,” he added.

Agany Chan Ngor, Representative of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs stressed the need to disarm the civil population to restore stability.

“Those holding weapons are not only people from the military or other organized forces, ordinary people are holding weapons, we need to encourage the leadership to do the disarmament such that weapons are placed in right places where they can’t kill people at random,” Chan said.

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