Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health: Our Impact

Community pastor in Mvolo County. {Photo credit: E. Polich/MSH.}Photo credit: E. Polich/MSH.

In South Sudan, HIV prevalence hovers at an estimated 3%,[1] which is significantly lower than neighboring countries like Kenya (6.3%), Uganda (6.5%), and the Central African Republic (4.7%).[2, 3] Despite this lower prevalence, the world’s newest country teeters on a precipice where HIV is concerned.

Health care staff at Gurei Primary Health Care Center provide patients with drugs after attending their first Leadership Development Program (LDP) session. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Two years ago, the Gurei Primary Health Care Center (PHCC) in Juba, South Sudan was facing a number of operational challenges. In addition to needing a cold storage area for vaccinations, PHCC also had an insufficient number of trained vaccinators and morale was low among the available staff. Within the community they served, PHCC encountered many negative attitudes and incorrect ideas about vaccinations. Residents who brought their children to PHCC for care found that the needed vaccinations were only sporadically available. As a result, the number of children immunized in Juba remained low.

Since 1990, annual maternal deaths have declined by almost one half and the deaths of young children have declined from 12 million to 7.6 million in 2010.Some of the world's poorest countries have achieved spectacular progress in reducing child deaths. Rates of child mortality in many African countries have been dropping twice as fast in recent years as during the 1990s.

Global Health and Diplomacy, Women Deliver, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) will be hosting a roundtable on maternal and child health issues prior to the Child Health Summit to highlight the importance of addressing MDGs 4 and 5 in a comprehensive and integrated manner.Speakers includeGoli Ameri, Undersecretary General, Humanitarian Values and Diplomacy (IFRC)Dr.

Medicines and supplies that can prevent and treat leading causes of maternal and child morbidity and mortality are widely known, yet millions of pregnant women and newborns cannot access these medicines and supplies when they need them most.USAID’s Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), presented on systems for improving drug management at this year’s Asia Regional Meeting on Interventions for Impact in Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care.

Imukalayi Ulunga holds her son, Mardochet. Picture from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga Province. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Weighing less than three pounds at birth, tiny Mardochet Ulunga might have become another infant mortality statistic, but for one thing: he was born in a health facility where the staff just been trained in kangaroo mother care (KMC).

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) announced today that it has joined Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of over 100 organizations working to end child marriage all over the world. The partnership will amplify the voices of girls at risk of child marriage and will support girls who are or have been married, all over the world.

Celebrating Independence Day in South Sudan. {Photo credit: Erin Polich/MSH.}Photo credit: Erin Polich/MSH.

South Sudan is strengthening their health system, despite the challenges of being the newest country in the world.The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, “A health system consists of all the organizations, institutions, resources and people whose primary purpose is to improve health.” In South Sudan, MSH leads the USAID-funded Sudan Health Transformation Project, phase two (SHTP II), which works with the national Ministry of Health, county health departments, local organizations, and communities to transition the primary health care system from relief to development.SHTP II

Dr. Stanekzai, Afghanistan.Dr. Stanekzai, Afghanistan.

The 2010 Afghanistan Mortality Survey (AMS 2010) is Afghanistan's first comprehensive mortality survey. Implemented by the Afghan Public Health Institute (APHI), the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), and the Central Statistics Organization (CSO), the national survey represents over 22,000 households, covering 87 percent of the total Afghan population. In addition to data on mortality and cause of death for mothers, children, and all adults, the survey includes data on fertility, family planning, and on the utilization of maternal and child health services.

A midwife in Wardak province takes the blood pressure of her patient. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Midwives can decrease the risk of mother or infant dying during childbirth. For many expectant mothers in Afghanistan, especially those in rural provinces such as Maidan Wardak, a midwife is the only health care provider they may ever know, since traditional beliefs prevent women from being treated by male doctors. For three years, the thousands of women in Maidan Wardak province’s mountainous communities essentially had no access to health care, because there were no midwives in the province’s nine different health facilities. Maternal and infant deaths were common.

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