South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Years of conflict and displacement have hampered infrastructure and led to a lack of accessible healthcare services for the safe delivery of babies.
Nynamau Lual, 19, was recently expecting her second child and attended her local health centre, Mijak Primary Healthcare Unit (PHCU), in Abyei Administrative Area. Until recently, this health centre did not have the resources to safely deliver children born in the area. Fortunately, this changed in time for Nynamau to have her second child.
With support from the ECHO, GOAL is working in partnership with the State Ministry of Health and Save the Children to improve maternal and newborn mortality in South Sudan. This is done by addressing underlining issues which hinder pregnant mother’s access to antenatal care, by improving health facility delivery by skilled birth attendants and by having access to quality postnatal care services. Mijak Primary Healthcare Unit is one of a number of health clinics GOAL supports in the Abyei region of South Sudan, reaching over 78,000 people. The project supports pregnant and lactating women (PLW) like Nynamau, and children under 5.
A Story of Hope
Late in Nynamau’s pregnancy, she experienced health complaints and knew she had to come to the GOAL supported facility for a check-up. Nynamau was diagnosed and treated for malaria. While this would have posed a risk for her baby, she was in good hands with the now well-supported and resourced health centre staff. Thankfully, she safely delivered her baby at the health facility with a skilled midwife caring for her during delivery.
Through positive health seeking attitudes and behaviours, Nynamau and others in her community can now access quality healthcare services in GOAL supported facilities. In July 2022, GOAL recruited an additional midwife for Mijak to help improve Maternal Child Health services. Mothers in labour who develop complications such as obstructed labour, eclampsia, or severe postpartum haemorrhage are quickly identified and referred by health staff to the regional Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital, if necessary. The programme has been transformative. Since the interventions began, no maternal or neonatal mortality in the GOAL supported health facilities have been reported.
A Call to Action
Nynamau urged others in her community to avail of the services being provided. “I am sending a message to my sisters. You have to come to the health facility for delivery and follow up because sometimes you may get complications. It is better to go to the facility for delivery and treatment, this is good for every woman and child.”
She also expressed her happiness and gratitude towards the GOAL staff and its donors, for supporting her community: “Finally, I thank GOAL, Irish Aid and ECHO for supporting the health facility here in Mijak.”
GOAL’s health system strengthening project in South Sudan is funded by EU Humanitarian Aid and Irish Aid. This is done in partnership with Save the Children Netherlands, supporting the South Sudanese Ministry of Health. The programme aims to provide essential primary health care and nutrition services for conflict affected vulnerable children and families in Abyei.