UN and South Sudan in joint effort to reduce maternal mortality

31 October 2011 – A joint initiative of the United Nations and South Sudan s aiming to reduce maternal mortality by deploying midwives throughout the country, providing locals with the necessary skills to safely deliver babies, and improving the health facilities available to the wider population.

One out of seven pregnant women dies due to pregnancy-related causes in South Sudan. With less than 100 midwives for the entire country, there is an urgent need for an increase in health workers to attend to the population’s needs.

To tackle this issue, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and South Sudan’s health ministry organized a workshop last week to review their joint midwives project, seeking to provide immediate solutions and discuss ways to address the problem in the long term.

UNFPA’s head of office in South Sudan, Deji Popoola, said that a lack of midwifery skills and ill-equipped health centres pose a huge risk to mothers and their unborn babies.

“A strong midwifery force with adequate competences could contribute greatly in reducing maternal deaths,” Mr. Popoola said during the opening ceremony of the workshop in the national capital of Juba.

“Ensuring access to midwifery at every birth, at all levels, is vital at this moment of time,” he said, reaffirming UNFPA’s commitment to support efforts to help midwives and improve midwifery services.

So far, the Capacity Placement of International United Nations Volunteer Midwives Project has deployed 18 volunteer midwives across South Sudan.

[Courtesy of UN News Service]

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