Celebrating Midwives And the Communities They Support in the World's Newest Country
But in South Sudan, the youngest country in the world, such care is not always readily available. Indeed, the country has one of the world’s highest death rates from complications of pregnancy.
Jhpiego worked with the local MOH and first studied the program in two counties to understand how to make it work in the local setting. Results were remarkable: almost 99 percent of the women who had their babies at home took the medicine, and none had a serious hemorrhage. Based on these encouraging findings, the MOH requested that ISDP expand the intervention as part of the basic Package of Health and Nutrition Services throughout Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria States, the program’s two focus states.
Since the start of the program in July 2014, a total of 5,150 mothers have been protected from PPH with the use of misoprostol and oxytocin, a similar medicine available in health facilities, as the program has expanded to cover half of the counties in the two states.
Rose works for World Vision, one of the program’s local partners in this innovative effort. She is excited to see that more women are receiving the care they need to have a safe and healthy childbirth, even after only a year:
“The program has been running very smoothly and the home health volunteers are counseling the mothers well. More mothers are returning to deliver in the health facility and attending the antenatal care clinics.”
Interest in the initiative, from community members to donors, has been overwhelming. The MOH requested that ISDP share its experience with other development partners and guide them to initiate the intervention in other states of the country. In response, ISDP has collaborated with the broader donor community in South Sudan and has assisted with trainings of other teams of home health promoters, and implementation is beginning to spread.
As the majority of South Sudanese women go through pregnancy and childbirth without interventions to safeguard themselves and their babies, this PPH prevention initiative, as it is scaled up, holds promise to substantially decrease maternal deaths in the country.