Reducing malnutrition to improve health saves lives in South Sudan

In South Sudan, children continue to suffer the burden of hunger and malnutrition caused by the war. Malnourished children have substantially reduced immune systems and are at least three more likely to contract and die from contagious infectious disease like measles, malaria, diarrhoea, cholera and pneumonia than healthy children.

Save the Children supports 58 primary health care facilities and a hospital across South Sudan to save lives. Through our community-based interventions such as our integrated community case management (iCCM) programme and strengthening of the health systems, we provide health and nutrition services for community treatment for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea.

In Abyei Specials Administration Area, Angar’s was displaced in 2011 during the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. Their properties were taken by armed groups and they left their cultivation land during the fighting. Angar and the family fled to Rumkor within Abyei area, where they live with little or no piece of land to cultivate. They also don’t have livestock to feed their family.

Life became difficult with no food and lack of health services to Angar’s family. Angar’s 2-year-old baby, Sunday*, became malnourished due to poor feeding and health service. Angar had to walk for an hour to a Save the Children Primary Health Care Centre to save her baby.

Sunday* was put on a course of Therapeutic feeding programme and was treated. Sunday* is slowly recovering as she now completes her plumpy sup. I’m happy because Save the Children saved my child from acute malnutrition, Angar comments.

The entire Abyei area has long been disputed territory between South Sudan and Sudan. It has suffered greatly from conflict leaving most of the infrastructure crumbling and there are very few primary healthcare providers apart from Save the Children. Malnutrition and limited health care also affects children’s education because when they are sick, they are unable to attend classes in Abyei.

15-year-old Anna* from Abyei in South Sudan was suffering from an infected wound and malaria. Some days the pain was so much that she couldn’t walk, so she missed out on school. Anna almost lost hope of finishing her education and having a decent future.

Anna travelled 60km to reach Save the Children’s Primary Healthcare Centre, where she was immediately admitted for treatment. A few days later, she says I’m feeling better and relieved. I will be able to stay in school.

What we do in Abyei

Save the Children staff in Abyei treat malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea and any contagious diseases such as measles among children under five. follow up of children undergoing treatment for further advise to the parents, malnutrition screening for children under five, referral of children with danger signs to health facility, health education to mothers and care givers and proper keeping of the drugs and their job aids.

Thanks to our donor ECHO, in entire Abyei, we have reached 53,002 people as of December 2018.

Source: Save the Children