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IHO undertakes Training of Health Workers on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Torit County South Sudan


In the effort to strengthen adolescent sexual and reproductive health services  in South Sudan, On the 1st – 5th of April, 2019, IHO in collaboration with the National Ministry of Health with support from UNFPA conducted a training on Adolescents and youth friendly health services for Torit State Hospital staff and staff from Torit Military hospital, Torit National Health Insurance, Ofiriha and Nyong PHCCs. The total number of participants trained is 30 and they consist of medical professionals: medical officers, midwives, nurses and clinical officers.

The Main objectives of the training were to prepare the participants to;

  • Be knowledgeable about the characteristics of adolescent and adolescent development.
  • Be more sensitive to the needs of adolescents
  • Be better-equipped with information and resources.
  • Be better able to provide adolescent-friendly health services.
  • Have prepared a personal plan indicating the changes they will make in their work.

Sexual and reproductive health and the full enjoyment of the associated human rights are at the very heart of adolescents` transition to adulthood. Adolescence and youth is a period of many critical transitions: physical, psychological, economic and social. Childhood is left behind and pressures to become responsible adults are strong. Like other most developing countries many young people in South Sudan are faced with challenges in accessing reproductive health services.

Adolescents and young people are at risk of early and unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, high maternal and child mortality, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and AIDS, sexual exploitation and abuse, and substance abuse such as tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Many are exposed to violence and fear on a daily basis. Some of the pressures adolescents face and the choices they make can change the course of their lives. These outcomes represent tragedies for young people and their families. The current conflict and displacement in the country since 2013 has negatively impacted the socio-economic and cultural norms of the communities with increased vulnerability of adolescents and young people. Young people need information, and services to make positive and informed decisions about sex and sexuality. The available health services are not youth friendly oriented with in adequate human resources and facilities.

Thirty-two percent of the South Sudan population is aged 10-24 years[1]. Youth 15-24 years in South Sudan have poorer literacy levels at 55% among young men and 28% among young women[2]. The rate of school dropout in South Sudan is the highest in the world. School dropout rates stands at 23.4% Primary and Secondary 61.9%. The situation is worse for girls with only 6% of girls completing their primary education, Among the contributing factor for girls drop out include, Cultural barriers driven mainly by attitudes and traditions about the girl-child, including early marriages; School-based barriers such as sexual harassment, early pregnancy and child-to-child violence and Psycho-social barriers such as age-lapse among the pupils and the challenges of maturation for teenage girls[3].

In 2010, the proportion of girls who had sex before the age 15 is 10.3% where 23.3% of young women have sex before age 15 compared to 29% for Males[4]. Among young people aged 15-19, 6.8% of females and 27% of males reported sexual intercourse with more than one partner[5]. The 2010 South Sudan Household health survey suggested high and unprotected sexual activities among young people with multiple partners; of those having sex with multiple partners, only 5 percent reported condom use, the majority (95%) being at risk of STIs when having sex, indicating a heightened risk of infection among them). 81% of youth in South Sudan are not aware of any contraceptive methods with female youth at an even lower awareness than their male peers. Condom use among the sexually active youth is relatively low with only 24% in-school Youth reporting ever using condoms, of whom 16% reported condom use at first sexual intercourse. Among the Out-of-School Youth (OSY) group, 27% reported using a condom during the first sex act, with a slightly higher proportion (36%) reporting they had ever used condom[6]. Averagely 3 to 5 cases of abortions are managed in most facilities, every day most of whom are girls and young women[7].

Teenage pregnancies among 15-19 year olds [per 1000 in age group] is increasing report at 300 per 1,000 in 2012 due to among other reasons early marriage[8] High teenage birth rate is also attributed to the absence of reproductive health programmes targeted at the youth[9].

STIs are major problem for the youth with about 10% of the population having ever experienced symptoms of STIs, Youth in south Sudan have little understanding of STIs; only 38% have adequate knowledge on STIs[10] Among those aged 15–24, HIV/AIDS prevalence was more than twice as high for females (1.3%) compared to males (0.5%)[11]

Despite the fact that adolescents comprise the majority and they have special reproductive health needs, their needs have not been adequately addressed. The available reproductive health services for example are adult-centered and thus making them less accessible to adolescents. For that reason, adolescents especially in rural areas constitute an underserved group. In addition, there are many adolescents who have no access to proper information and counseling services leading to poor decision making on reproductive health choices and practices.

Impact Health Organization (IHO) received funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the project titled “increasing Access to Youth Friendly SRH Information and Services” as part of GoSS/UNFPA third Country Programme (2019 – 2021). This training comes as part of the the activities to strengthen youth friendly services in South Sudan.

[2] 2008 National Baseline Household Survey

[3]Government of Southern Sudan (Goss) (2011).National Educational Statistical Booklet (EMIS).Ministry of Education. Juba: Republic of Southern Sudan

[4] The South Sudan Household Health Survey 2010 Final Report

[5] UNESCO 2013 Country-level Report: HIV and Sexuality Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Young People in South Sudan

[6]UNICEF and GOSS- MOEST 2008. Socio-economic and cultural barriers to education in southern Sudan November 2008

[7] Situational Analysis Of Reproductive Health And Adolescent Sexual And Reproductive Health In Southern Sudan- SSMOH/UNFPA 2007

[8] UNFPA Final country programme document for South Sudan (2012)

[9] UNESCO 2013 Country-level Report : HIV and Sexuality Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Young People in South Sudan

[10] Situational Analysis Of Reproductive Health And Adolescent Sexual And Reproductive Health In Southern Sudan- SSMOH/UNFPA 2012

[11] Global AIDS Review Programme Report (2013); SSAC (2010) Universal Access Report. Scaling Up HIV/AIDS Response, South Sudan

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