South Sudan | News | Improving maternal health in Jonglei State: new maternity ward established, 7 February 2013


Improving maternal health in Jonglei State: new maternity ward established, 7 February 2013

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The State Minster of Health H.E. Jehan Deng shows off the key for the new maternity ward moments after receiving it from Dr Abdi Aden Mohamed, WHO Representative for South Sudan, the Canadian Ambassador to South Sudan Nick Coghan and the contractor who built the maternity wardThe State Minster of Health H.E. Jehan Deng shows off the key for the new maternity ward moments after receiving it from Dr Abdi Aden Mohamed, WHO Representative for South Sudan, the Canadian Ambassador to South Sudan Nick Coghan and the contractor who built the maternity ward7 February 2013 – Nine months after starting work in Bor State hospital, WHO has handed over a fully-equipped maternity ward to Jonglei State health authorities. The new ward, built by WHO with funds from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is a 40-bed health facility with modern maternity equipment. The ward comprises two operating theatres, a labour suite, procedure room, emergency room, neonatal unit and eight cubicles each with four beds. Other facilities include: a recovery room, sluice rooms, waste room, consultation rooms, doctor’s room, sterile equipment room, reception and nine wash rooms.

CIDA support

WHO Representative for South Sudan Dr Abdi Aden Mohamed thanked CIDA for supporting the comprehensive emergency, obstetric and neonatal care (CEmONC) programme in South Sudan and said that WHO planned to construct similar maternity wards in seven other states to increase the access of women with obstetric complications to CEmONC services. Construction of the ward will contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality in the state.

Dr Mohamed also thanked the government of Jonglei state for their support and the Minister of Health Dr Michael Milly Hussein and the Under Secretary Dr Makur Kariom. He urged the people of Jonglei to use the ward for its intended purpose and maintain it well.

CIDA has also sponsored two medical doctors to train others in gynaecology and obstetrics in Khartoum and Uganda who can then support the CEmONC programme in Jonglei. WHO has also deployed an obstetrician, gynaecologist, anaesthesiologist and two midwives to mentor national staff at the hospital.

The Canadian Ambassador to South Sudan Mr Nick Coghan said that the Canadian government had identified maternal and child health as top priority and would focus its support to South Sudan in this area. He said that 75% of all maternal deaths are due to obstetric complications caused by five preventable causes. He said that simple solutions could make a big difference and that many hospitals in South Sudan were ill prepared but with hard work and determination, South Sudan could make tremendous progress. He advised the state Ministry of Health and WHO to strengthen the project by conducting outreach activities to inform women of available services.

The State Minister of Health H.E. Jehan Michak Deng thanked CIDA for the financial support in constructing the ward and WHO for their support in building the capacity of health professionals in Jonglei, especially those working to save the lives of mothers and children.

Medical staff commended

The Governor of Jonglei State H.E. Kuol Mayang Juuk commended the medical staff of Jonglei State Hospital for their good work under difficult conditions and said that with the creation of the new maternity ward health facility, the people of Jonglei would no longer send their wives to Uganda and Kenya for medial obstetric emergencies.

H.E. Michael Hussein Milly, the Minister of Health said that the ward was the first state-of-the-art maternity ward in South Sudan. Hesaid that South Sudan stood behind the slogan “No woman should die while giving birth to life”. The Minister advised health workers to create awareness among mothers as a way of encouraging them to come to the hospital instead of seeking services from traditional birth attendants.

In 2010, Bor hospital received between 60 and 70 pregnant women due to obstetrics and pregnancy complications. About 52% were post-abortion cases and obstructed labour 42%.

Caesarian section rate

The universally accepted standard indicator of quantity of critical services as well a proxy indicator on accessibility is the caesarean section rate. The acceptable threshold is not less than 5% and not more than 15%, as a proportion of all births in the population are by caesarean section. In Jonglei State, the State Ministry of Health was supported by two international nongovernmental organizations (International Medical Corps for Akobo hospital and Merlin for Boma Hospital) before WHO started with the programme; 0 to 2 caesarian sections were performed per month in each health facility, according to information provided by these organizations.

Bor Hospital

To address delays that cause maternal and neonatal deaths, WHO has constructed a maternal waiting home, and equipped Bor Hospital with technical, operational and organizational capacity to be fully prepared to receive and treat women with critical obstetrics complications. Bor Hospital has now been upgraded to a fully functional CEmONC centre so that emergency cases relating to pregnancy/delivery and childbirth will be promptly and adequately attended to.

Bor Hospital is a state referral hospital in Jongei state and serves over 1.3 million people within the state. The hospital offers both curative and preventive medical services and has a total of seven medical officers and a limited number of health workers. The state has no source of revenue and depends entirely on the Government for their budgetary needs. With the support of WHO, the reduction in maternal mortality will contribute to achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 which seeks to reduce child mortality rates and improve maternal health, respectively.

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Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 8260
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) 2054.0
Total life expectancy at birth (years) 42.0

Source: Country statistical profiles (2013)

South Sudan country profile