As one of the newest members of the global community, South Sudan joins the portfolio of the U.S.’s flagship global Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) with a program to reduce maternal deaths, save newborn lives and expand the availability of family planning services.
This country of 8.2 million people, which became independent in July 2011, suffers from an exceedingly high maternal mortality ratio—2,054 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. Only 10 percent of women give birth in a health facility with the help of a skilled birth attendant. Although one in five women of reproductive age has an unmet need for family planning, the modern-method contraceptive prevalence rate is only 1.5 percent, arguably the lowest in the world.
The focus of the program in South Sudan will be technical support to the Ministry of Health in the areas of family planning, maternal/newborn health, monitoring and evaluation of HIV, and budgeting/financial management. In addition, MCHIP will work with local partners on a program for prevention of maternal deaths from postpartum hemorrhage, including the use of misoprostol by women giving birth at home.