UNFPA project to ensure maternal health in South Sudan

8 Mar 2017

UNFPA project to ensure maternal health in South Sudan

Birungi Machrine

08 March 2017  - The United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA, has enhanced its midwifery education program, designed to increase the number of women attended to by qualified health personnel particularly midwives in South Sudan.

“Midwives are essential part in South Sudan’s fight against maternal and new born mortality and morbidity,” said Ms. Veronica Njikho, UNFPA Gender Specialist for the Strengthening Midwifery Services Project.

According to Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery, South Sudan’s maternal mortality remains the highest in the world – 2,054 per 100,000 live births. This figure represents a 1 in 7 chance of a woman dying during her lifetime from pregnancy related causes.

To improve the maternal health indicators, UNFPA through its Strengthening Midwifery Services (SMS) project in South Sudan, is working with the National Ministry of Health to address the gap in human resource for women’s reproductive health, particularly focusing on midwifery education and training of midwives as skilled birth attendant.

Ms. Njikho, said the project aims to increase the number of pregnant women attended by a qualified midwife or other health care professionals with midwifery competencies, and contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality by increasing access to quality midwifery services.

She said that UNFPA’s Midwifery education program is providing scholarships to young south Sudanese to undergo nurses and midwifery education, to improve on the delivery of healthy babies.

“The current focus of SMS is scaling up midwifery education, increasing capacity for delivery of emergency obstetric care, improving clinical practice for midwifery, nursing, associate clinicians and medical students, and to ensure that the deployment plan for graduates and regulatory framework are in place.”

UNFPA is helping the government of South Sudan to ensure that the nurses and midwives are deployed in health facilities that need them most especially in the hard to reach regions of the country.

Through the Nurses and Midwifery scholarship, UNFPA has so far provided training to more than 270 nurses, 50 percent of who are girls trained both in South Sudan and in the neighbouring countries, to fill the gap in professional maternal health care.

The Governments of Canada and Sweden are funding UNFPA’s Strengthening Midwifery Services (SMS) project in South Sudan.

Click here to find out more about UNFPA maternal health project support in South Sudan.