by Mary Raddawi, ’14
The highest priority today in Southern Sudan is maternal health. While the fighting between Northern and Southern Sudan mostly came to an end in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the struggle against maternal and neonatal mortality continues. In 2006, the Sudan Household Health Survey determined the maternal mortality rate (MMR) to be 2,327 deaths per 100,000 live births. To put this in perspective, in 2006, the MMR for the United States was 13 deaths per 100,000 live births (and this is the highest MMR we have had in decades). And by 2011, with almost no progress made in maternal health services, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that Southern Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world at 2,054 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Overall health care coverage in Southern Sudan is mostly managed by non-governmental organizations and is limited to an estimated 25% of the population of approximately 8 million people. At these limited health care facilities, maternal health services are non-existent or rarely used. Continue reading