You are heavily pregnant, about to go into labour. You walk and walk but no one will take you in. There is no shelter, no midwife, no way to relieve your pain. Eventually you can go on no further. You settle down in a shack -What will happen to you? This may sound like a 2000 year-old story, but it the reality for women in South Sudan: almost 1 in 20 die during childbirth. This is largely due to a lack of trained medical staff and so we are working to train health workers for the country.
South Sudan is the world's newest country. After 40 years of civil war it is greatly under-resourced, especially in the area of healthcare. Less than half the population can get to healthcare within 10km and there is a huge lack of trained health workers. This means that if a woman goes into labour and there are complications, the likelihood is that she won't be able to get to a hospital- even if she does there probably won't be a trained midwife to give her the care she needs.
AID, along with the International Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA) and the Government of South Sudan, has developed the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS), to train South Sudanese students to become clinical officers, nurses and midwives. The Institute began in June 2014, and has, remarkably, retained all 51 students who enrolled. 18 new students joined the Institue in summer 2015. Courses are 3 years long and are taught by world-class doctors from the ICMDA
One health worker could work in a clinic which treats 4,000 patients a month. This project will enable thousands more mothers access to life-saving healthcare during childbirth. It will also give hundreds of children access to treatments for easily preventable diseases, such as malaria, which lead to 1 in 7 children dying before they are 5. The project also gives young men and women who have grown up in civil war, the opportunity of a high quality, further education.