Maternal mortality is internationally recognized as a human rights violation which is largely a result of ignorance on health rights, inadequate participation of community, lack of transparency and accountability on health service delivery resulting into poor governance in the health sector. According to 2006 Southern Sudan House Hold Survey (SHHS), South Sudan also has one of the worst rates of maternal mortality in the world (2,054 out of 100,000 live births). On average, 16 women of reproductive age die unnecessarily each day in South Sudan due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Antenatal care attendance remains low with only 46.7% of pregnant women attending at least one ANC visit. Despite Institutional deliveries accounting for just 12.3% of births, 14.7% of these deliveries are attended by skilled health professionals with only 0.5% able to receive a caesarean section. In south Sudan off 44% of are accessible with a 5km radius. Although family planning can reduce maternal mortality by 30% in South Sudan, contraceptive prevalence rate remains as low as 4.7% despite 26% of women aged 15-49 years want to delay child birth. Only16% of women above the age of 15 are literate with 10% have completed secondary education. Anemia, sexual gender based violence, obstetric fistula, hypertension and cervical cancer also remain challenge to women in South Sudan despite the lack of access to surveillance data. All these challenges are clearly an outcome of socioeconomic and gender inequalities and the failure of health systems to provide accessible, equitable, high-quality maternal health care, including family planning, skilled attendance during childbirth and emergency obstetric care in case of complications.
Investing in maternal health is not only a political and social imperative for the policymakers, but it is also cost-effective. Healthy mothers lead to healthy families and societies, strong health systems, and healthy economies. Investing in maternal health is urgent, not only because giving life should not result in death, but also because women are important economic drivers and their health is critical to long-term, sustainable economic development in the country. Therefore investing in maternal health is a way to improve health systems overall, which benefits the entire population of the country.
- Reducing maternal and new-born deaths through integration of high-impact interventions such as provision of Family planning; Focused Antenatal Care, increasing proportion of women attended by skilled attendants at birth, and Focused Postnatal Care; Post abortion care;
- Provide Basic and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetrics and New-born Care (EmONC) in supported primary Health care Centres and support hospitals respectively aiming at preventing and appropriately managing maternal and new-born complication;
- Strengthening SS health system to effectively address Maternal, new-born and reproductive health.
- Improve health awareness and care seeking behaviour through targeted Community mobilisation; demand creation and IEC/BCC activities.
- Improving the performance of health workers to care for women and newborns, including integrating services, training health workers in key interventions such as active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL), strengthening emergency obstetric and newborn care, and improving referral systems.
- Building quality improvement partnerships between heatlh workers and communities
- Using mobile phones, eLearning, and other technologies to improve maternal, newborn, and child health care
- Enhancing health workers’ ability to recognize obstructed labor and prevent obstetric fistula
- Improving health workers’ proficiency in recognizing neonatal signs of distress and increasing referrals for immediate care and treatment
- Integrating prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV into all aspects of MNCH care.
- Improving the performance of health workers to enhance the quality and accessibility of FP/RH services
- Developing innovative approaches to pre service education and in-service training
- Expanding the roles of health workers to deliver appropriate FP/RH services, supported by policy changes as necessary
- Strengthening the health workforce and health systems (planning, information, education, management)
- Integrating family planning services with other health care services such as prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
- Increasing the range of available family planning options, including long-acting and permanent methods
- Under take clinical Management of rape (CMR) and psychosocial support to survivor sexual gender based violence.
- Reaching out to communities to increase awareness and knowledge about FP/RH.
- Increase public participation in health planning, financing and governance by strengthening community-based initiatives that empowers community members to know and demand their rights and entitlements in health
- Strengthen the capacity of health workers and communities on the Rights Based Approach to improve maternal health care services
- Build capacity at facility and community level to develop initiatives for prevention and early detection of cancer advocacy and raise awareness on cervical and other cancers among communities
- Build capacity of decision-makers at local, county, state and National level for policy commitments, evidence-based planning and resource allocation
- Advocate for sexual and reproductive rights including access to family planning.
Support formal HMIS to provide accurate information on maternal and reproductive health