We are working to reduce maternal and child mortality by training frontline health workers on care for pregnant women, newborns and young children across South Sudan.

South Sudan is plagued by some of the world’s worst maternal, newborn and child health indices. Estimates made by the World Health Organization and United Nations Population Fund set the infant mortality rate in South Sudan as 102 deaths per 1,000 live births, the under-five mortality rate as 135 per 1,000 live births, and the maternal mortality ratio as 2,054 per 100,000 live births. 

One of the greatest obstacles to quality maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) care in South Sudan is the lack of skilled MNCH care providers. According to the South Sudan Medical Journal, South Sudan has only 10 obstetrician/gynecologists,4 pediatricians, and 10 certified midwives. Decades of conflict have disrupted and prevented the development of educational programs that would help keep these crucial professionals in current in their fields.

In late 2010, the Global Health Innovation Laboratory's Maternal, Newborn, and Child Survival (MNCS) began to provide novel training for frontline MNCH workers on care for pregnant women, newborns, and young children across South Sudan. The Initiative trained frontline health workers in intensive, evidence-based, case-based skills development on MNCH emergencies. The goals of this course were to identify the major killers of mothers, newborns, infants and children under 5, and to teach workers how to thwart these killers. Prevention topics were also addressed in this course (i.e., nutrition/feeding habits, water, traditional practices, check-ups, immunizations, development milestones, education and early recognition). By the end of the program MNCSI had trained 72 Master Trainers and 732 frontline health workers in maintaining a healthy pregnancy, recognizing danger signs during pregnancy, managing emergencies during labor, stopping heavy bleeding after delivery and perform neonatal resuscitation.

From 2010 to 2012, the Global Health Innovation Laboratory trained 72 trainers and 732 frontline health workers in seven states in South Sudan. For details on our monitoring and evaluation of MNCS, please read our article in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.