I am delighted to announce that the South Sudan General Medical Council (SSGMC) finally has a website that will be the hub of all its activities and communication with the profession, public and patients. The tentative launch date has been set around the first week of October, 2015. Acquisition of modern information and communication technology remained a priority in our short term strategic plans and we have focused consistently in our ten months of existence to achieve this goal. We are truly grateful to our partners from IFC–HIA Initiative, a subsidiary of the World Bank, who sponsored the whole project and patiently nudged us in the right direction to arrive at this important milestone. We are now certainly in a better position to set standards for medical, dental and pharmaceutical practice in South Sudan. Doctors and healthcare institutions will from now onwards be able to access and download application forms as well as communicate with the council through the website. Although our training institutions and basic healthcare infrastructures were razed down repeatedly during a series of liberation wars and conflicts, we are determined to rise from the ashes and build a world class well regulated healthcare system. The council will endeavor to give the public a renewed confidence in their healthcare system by closely monitoring standards of medical professionalism in the newest country in the world.The SSGMC was established to ensure that doctors and healthcare institutions– both public and private– deliver a high standard of care with emphasis on patient safety. This is firmly embedded in our vision, mission and core values and clearly spelled out in our strategic statement. We shall promote continuous professional development and training of doctors to adapt to new concepts by effectively utilizing information and communication technology.

The SSGMC has taken steps to liaise and network with other regulatory bodies in Africa and beyond and has already submitted applications for membership. This collaboration has already opened up opportunities for capacity building of the council membership and staff. The Chairman and Registrar of the SSGMC participated as invited observers in the recently concluded Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA) annual meeting held in Mombasa, Kenya. This meeting was also attended by the President of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) as well as the Executive Director who warmly welcomed and encouraged the SSGMC to join the association.

We still have a long way to go on our strategic path and humbly beg the public and all concerned to bear with us. The ongoing provisional registration process of doctors, dentists, pharmacists and healthcare institutions will transition into a permanent one when the full council regulatory capabilities are in place. Budgetary challenges, intransigent bureaucratic practices and sometimes outright lack of cooperation are significantly slowing our progress but it is my firm belief and conviction that we shall get there sooner than later. We promise the public that we shall deliver the safe healthcare system they yearn for by ensuring our doctors are ‘safe’ and practice in ‘safe’ healthcare institutions.

Prof. John Adwok, MBBS, MMED(Surg.), FCS(ECSA), FRCS(Edin.), FACS, PhD. Chairman, SSGMC. Juba, South Sudan