The overall purpose of the project is to improve access to maternal, new-born, and infant health services by increasing pregnant, women of child-bearing age, and recently-pregnant women’s’ knowledge of quality maternity resilience and new-born care, increasing these groups’ access to quality health care, and improving staff knowledge of maternal and new-born care among South Sudan Red Cross and Country Health Department staff. South Sudan has some of sub-Saharan Africa’s lowest health indicators, with high incidences of maternal and new-born morality rates, the latter of which is largely preventable. Compounding these issues are food insecurity, migration to due conflict, poor living and sanitation conditions, limited access to education and employment, disease, lack of quality maternal care services, cultural practices surrounding pregnancy, and a host of other concerns that hinder South Sudan’s development. This leads to situation where only 10% of women give birth in health facilities with skilled birth attendants. This project takes place in the Terakeka and Yei counties of South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state.
The project reduces maternal and infant morality rates through establishing Maternity Waiting Homes (MWH) for women with high-risk pregnancies. In these homes, women are cared for during the final weeks of their pregnancies in proximity to hospitals providing comprehensive emergency obstetric and new-born care facilities, receiving education on infant care, delivery, and pregnancy. Moreover, the programme stimulates crucial community knowledge and linkages to health care systems and adopts and implements solutions to emergency obstetric care alongside advocating for South Sudan’s Red Cross to adopt national maternal, new-born, and infant health strategies. South Sudan’s Ministry of Health is also targeted towards developing a strategy on MWH’s.
The project targets 40,000 women, 30,000 men and 40,000 infants, of which 10,700 new-borns), and indirectly 15,000 people.