Every seven seconds, a woman or baby dies from complications from pregnancy, labour and childbirth. Funding for proper care, staff and facilities could prevent many of these deaths.
Giving birth is one of the most dangerous points in the life of a mother and baby. In South Sudan, the rate of maternal deaths is among the highest in the world; just one in five births takes place in the presence of a skilled health worker.
The danger of delays
Victoria lives in Ibba County with her husband, Charles, and their children Peter and Josephine. Both births were complicated, putting Victoria and her babies’ lives in danger.
When Victoria’s labour pains started, she went to her nearest health facility in Ibba to deliver. Once there, health workers discovered Victoria was suffering from obstructed labour, a complication they didn’t have the resources to treat. To receive this specialist care, Victoria was referred to Maridi County Hospital, 40km away.
By the time the ambulance arrived, Victoria had been experiencing labour pains for two days with no sign of the baby. The ambulance journey took several hours in the heavy rains which had flooded the roads, causing the ambulance to get stuck in the mud several times. She and her husband feared they would never make it to the hospital.
Finally, they arrived at Maridi hospital where Victoria underwent an emergency C-section. Shortly after, baby Josephine let out a piercing shriek of life.
Victoria and her baby were lucky to survive. So many other women haven’t been so lucky.
Please make a gift to Amref Health Africa to support our efforts to ensure childbirth is safe for mothers like Victoria.
The Health Heroes supporting mothers
There are mounting pressures on the health system in South Sudan. Services were already chronically under-funded and severely under-staffed, but further funding cuts from overseas aid budgets like that of the UK have made healthcare even harder to access; health clinics have been forced to close and staff are not being paid.
Meet Lika Gibson: facility in-charge and farmer
Lika is the in-charge at Longbua Health Centre, Maridi County. Every day at the health centre, women line up hoping to be seen by a health worker. But the centre has no medicines, no maternal health service, and Lika is the only health worker there.
Cuts to the UK Aid budget meant that funding for this health centre, along with 25 other Amref-run primary healthcare units in South Sudan, was withdrawn.
Lika now farms a small-holding to make ends meet and sees patients for free, because he no longer receives a salary.
By making a gift to Amref Health Africa you can help to ensure mothers and babies like Victoria and Josephine have access to the healthcare they need during childbirth.
Amref is implementing programmes in South Sudan and across Africa to strengthen the health system and reduce rates of maternal and new-born mortality by:
- Training health workers in specialist care to provide skilled health worker support in pregnancy, birth and beyond
- Expanding services to connect more communities to the formal health system
- Improving community outreach and monitoring systems to guarantee high-quality care
- Streamlining the management of drugs and equipment to ensure health centres and staff are fully equipped to treat maternal and new-born health conditions
All images above © Kennedy Musyoka for Amref Health Africa, 2022
2023 Summer Appeal
Help us support mothers to give birth safely. Well-equipped health centres, fully trained staff and specialist care can help stop mothers and babies dying from preventable causes. Please give a gift today to help us improve maternal and new-born health services in South Sudan and across Africa.
could provide quality nutrition services to a child suffering from acute malnutrition
could pay a midwife’s salary for one week
could train a health worker on immunisation for children and pregnant women