South Sudan - Birth of a Nation

A new birth at Juba Teaching Hospital, South Sudan
A new birth at Juba Teaching Hospital, South Sudan (July 2012) (Elizabeth Deacon/IRIN)

NAIROBI, 19 July 2012 (IRIN) - Decades of conflict and marginalization have left South Sudan the most dangerous country on earth in which to give birth.

For every 100,000 births in South Sudan, more than 2,000 mothers die. Ninety percent of women give birth away from formal medical facilities and without the help of professionally trained assistants.

One of the main causes of South Sudan’s high maternal mortality rate is a dearth of qualified birth attendants: during the civil wars that raged since the mid-1950s conducting the necessary formal medical training was all but impossible.

Now, seven years after a peace accord was signed, and a year after South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, things are beginning to change.

IRIN’s latest film, South Sudan - Birth of Nation, focuses on Juba Teaching Hospital’s new college of nursing and midwifery. Students here, drawn from all of the country’s 17 states, speak of their determination to take their new skills back to their villages to reduce the scourge of maternal mortality.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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