Since renewed fighting broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, trainee midwives were re-located across the border to Lockikoggio, Kenya, where they are completing their training in safety.
However unlike the original midwifery school in Leer, South Sudan, there was no local hospital in Lockikoggio available for field placement training and practical experience.
Our partner has now secured field placements at a hospital in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, where our team of midwives will learn vital, practical skills.
UnitingWorld have pledged additional funding to renovate and repair a residential location for the students to live during their practical placements and to undertake repairs for the school’s vehicle to safely transfer students safely to and from their placement.
Our thoughts and prayers are with our brave cohort of student midwives – and we wish them every success in their new field placements.
Update: October 2014
Over the past two years UnitingWorld has supported the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency to train midwives in South Sudan. Due to the current conflict, our trainee midwives and their teachers have now been re-located to Lokichoggio in Kenya – 50 kilometres from the border of South Sudan where they will complete their training in safety after their school was destroyed.
The buildings and facilities, which were used previously by the PRDA, require some upgrading and that is being facilitated now. The surrounding area has several health clinics where the students will receive practical training and experience.
These brave young women’s skills will be vital in saving the lives of thousands of South Sudanese women and infants, many of whom are surviving in crowded refugee camps where medical help is scarce. Our Project Manager Peter Keegan is in regular contact with the PRDA and now the school year has resumed, is receiving frequent project updates.
In addition to our Training Midwives project, UnitingWorld is urgently calling for donations to support Emergency Relief for people in South Sudan displaced from their homes and in search of security. Donations can be made online or by calling us on 1800 998 122. All donations will used by experienced ACT Alliance member organisations on the ground to provide people in camps with water, sanitation and hygiene kits and other relief goods. Our partners are also active drilling boreholes, supporting mobile health clinics, offering psychosocial care and carrying out peace-building work in camps.
Petrea’s story – September 2013
Petrea is one of eighteen young midwives who have recently finished their training through the Leer Midwifery School in South Sudan. The project is partly funded by UnitingWorld and run in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.
“I decided to come here because where I come from there are no midwives,” Petrea says. “People are just looked after in the villages by traditional attendants who don’t know what to do if there is a complication. Many babies are dying because of ignorance.”
From many different regions, speaking many different languages, the trainee midwives have gathered to learn basic medical and midwifery skills. And they’ve been transformed by the process.
“The first time I saw a baby coming I wanted to run away,” Petrea says with a small smile. “But the midwife says to me “If you are the only one, who is going to help when the mother is dying and the baby?’ So I was standing firm, saying “This is the thing that leads me here! Let me stand firm and have confidence.” And I was able to do it. I know how to move the placenta. I know how to cut the cord. I was confident. And now I’m telling the mother how to breast feed the baby and how to care for the baby.”
An estimated one in seven women will die from complications related to childbirth in South Sudan. Petrea and the other student midwives are determined to turn things around for women in communities throughout this young nation.