5 May 2011 – Marching around the southern capital of Juba to sensitize people on the role they play in reducing maternal mortality, area midwives celebrated International Day of the Midwife today for the first time.
"We have a high rate of women dying in Southern Sudan because of pregnancy and child birth complication and the midwife is one of the medicines to stop that death," Ministry of Health Under-Secretary Dr. Olivia Lomoro said during the event.
One in seven Southern Sudanese women dies in childbirth in a region where skilled midwives attend only 10.2 per cent of deliveries.
The undersecretary added that training more midwives was a top priority of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).
Southern Sudan has only 10 diploma level midwives and less than 100 community midwives.
Staff and students from Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery (JCONAM), nurses from Juba Teaching Hospital, GoSS officials and representatives from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) joined them in their march.
"The government has given high priority to reduce maternal mortality and we the international community and non-governmental organizations are here to assist towards that goal," said UNFPA regional Head of Office Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov.
To accelerate progress towards improving maternal health, which is Millennium Development Goal 5, UNFPA is currently funding diploma training for 20 midwives at the JCONAM.
Meanwhile, the National Nurses and Midwives Association of South Sudan was launched in Juba on 4 May. Some 60 nurses and midwives from all 10 southern states participated in launch.