21 years, that’s how long the civil war lasted in Sudan. 1.5 million men, women and children are thought to have lost their lives, and another 4 million were forced to leave their homes during the course of Africa’s longest-running civil war. Then, a glimmer of hope came when South Sudan gained its independence in July 2011, making it the world’s newest country.
It is not just the civil conflict that takes the lives of men, women and children in South Sudan. The truth is that more deaths occur due to lack of access to health care in the country than civil conflict. The severe shortage of trained health care workers makes South Sudan the world’s most dangerous place to give birth.
"This is the world's most dangerous place to give birth.
Amref Health Africa has been working in South Sudan, formerly Sudan, since 1972 and remains committed to saving the lives of mothers and babies during pregnancy and delivery. That is why we are standing up for African mothers, and with your help, we will reach our goal of training 15,000 midwives across the continent of Africa by 2015. Through the generosity and support of donors like you, we have been able to train a combined total of 5,452 midwives in Africa since we started the campaign in 2012.
The need has never been greater than it is right now.
The Republic of South Sudan is facing the most serious political crisis since its historic vote for independence three years ago. On December 15th 2013 conflict erupted during an exchange between rival soldiers that quickly spiraled out of control.
More than 800,000 people have been displaced from their homes and it is estimated that over 10,000 people have lost their lives.
Hospitals have been looted and an already fragile and under-equipped health care system has literally been brought to its knees. Hanging in the balance are pregnant women, often with young children, in a country with the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. They need your support now more than ever.
Your gift of $100 or $60 can help ensure that midwives are there when mothers need them the most. Donate online now.
The Reality in South Sudan
One of the worst literacy rates in the world (less than 2% of the population has completed primary school)
The highest maternal mortality rate in the world (2,054 women dying for every 100,000 live births)
Mothers and babies at risk of dying during pregnancy and delivery.
Meet Nugent Manea Kalome, 56-year old midwife who was in the first group of midwives trained at Amref Health Africa’s National Training institute in South Sudan.
"I started as a Nurse in Maridi Hospital around 1970 during war in Sudan between the North and South. Coming back to the community after my training, I found mothers suffering a lot. There were no health workers to take care of them and mothers died a lot giving life because of complications that could have been prevented like obstructed labour and bleeding."
Nugent was placed at the MCH clinic in Maridi where she was able to use the skills she was taught through her midwife training to save mother’s and babie’s lives every day. Because of Nugent and the other midwives at the MCH clinic, the maternal mortality rate is going down and more new mothers are experiencing the joy of childbirth instead of fearing for their lives and the lives of their babies.
"We only have 3 midwives in Maridi hospital and sometimes we have 3 to 4 mothers in labour at the same time, so it’s very difficult. The only thing I could want is more midwives to be trained, because with enough trained midwives in all the health centres the challenges can be overcome and we can continue reducing the maternal mortality rate in South Sudan.
It is the passion and determination of frontline workers like Nugent to save the lives of mothers and babies during pregnancy and delivery that inspires us all to do our part.
Today your gift of $100 or $60 can help train midwives like Nugent to save lives in places like South Sudan. You can also show your continued support by joining our “Health for Africa” monthly giving program with a donation of $10 or $15 per month.
As we celebrate International Day of the Midwife on May 5th and prepare for Mother’s Day on May 11th, Stand up for African mothers and their babies and show your support. Your gift will help change lives.