The maternal mortality rate in South Sudan is the highest in the world. South Sudan has a population of 8 million but there are only ten certified midwives in the whole country. One in seven women die in pregnancy and childbirth.
Nzara has no hospitals and few doctors, nurses or trained midwives. Women often give birth alone or with a traditional birth attendant. The lack of schools and educational facilities means there are no candidates with sufficient education to undertake full midwifery training. To try to begin to address this problem, we have funded several week-long courses to train traditional birth attendants organised by CHAS (the Christian Health Association of Sudan). The first course was planned for 20 women but so great was the demand that 36 women turned up to be trained. The picture shows the women with their medical kits.
Since the first course a refresher course has taken place, kits have been replenished and a second group of traditional birth attendants have completed training. This has hugely reduced both the maternal mortality and infant mortality in the villages.