Terrible humanitarian crisis
For many decades, South Sudan was embroiled in a civil war with Sudan. In 2011, South Sudan became independent from the northern part of Sudan. But even after independence, the country was not at peace: civil war flared up again at the end of 2013. Since 2020, the war has been considered to be officially over, but real peace remains out of sight. The fights continue to flare up to this day.
After decades of war and violence, many regions are devastated and the infrastructure largely destroyed. Health care is disastrous throughout the country, and in many areas there is practically no medical care. In addition to the consequences of the conflict, a large part of the population does not have enough to eat due to floods and droughts. Millions of people in South Sudan suffer from hunger and are dependent on humanitarian support.
Many women, men and children fled to neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Kenya. Those who stayed are traumatised but do not give up hope for a better future.
A church supports reconstruction
The Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA) is the diaconal wing of the Presbyterian Church in South Sudan. Since its foundation in 1993, the agency has been working with war-affected communities and villages in South Sudan. It provides emergency aid as well as trauma and reconciliation work, but also creates structures to bring about sustainable improvement. These are urgently needed, especially in the area of mother-child health.
Infant and maternal mortality rates in South Sudan are extremely high. Becoming a mother in poorer countries is always associated with great risks. But nowhere in the world do more women die during pregnancy or childbirth than in South Sudan. Since there are hardly any trained midwives, many pregnant women give birth at home without adequate medical care. The need for trained midwives and professional birth attendance for mother and child is immense.
Building a midwifery school - a little bit of hope
Because of the civil war in South Sudan, PRDA has been running a midwifery school near Kakuma, one of the largest refugee camps for South Sudanese refugees in northern Kenya. For a long time, staff for South Sudan were trained there. This school is now to move back to Juba, the capital of South Sudan - to where it is really needed. In future, 60 midwives per year will be trained in Juba.
With the support of our partner organisations Basler Mission - German Branch and Mission 21 the building could be constructed. Now the school's furnishings, teaching and working materials and books as well as the necessary IT infrastructure are still missing.
The midwifery school is an important institution that contributes to improving the health status of women and children. The midwives learn to accompany pregnant women, to support them during childbirth and to give the newborns a smooth start in life.