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VOA Examines Maternal Mortality In South Sudan One Year After Independence

“A year after independence, South Sudan is still battling a lack of staff and resources as it tries to end its distinction of having the highest maternal mortality rate in the world,” VOA News reports. “[M]ore than 90 percent of births in South Sudan happen without the help of a skilled birth attendant, and more than 2,000 women die for every 100,000 live births,” the news service notes, adding, “This makes South Sudan one of the most dangerous places in the world to have a baby.”

“Gillian Garnett, a UNFPA midwifery specialist, says that she has never seen challenges like those faced in the world’s newest nation — a loss of some two million people to the war, countless others fleeing abroad or missing out on basic education,” VOA writes, noting, “Garnett says that South Sudan only has eight registered midwives.” According to VOA, “Doctor Mergani Abdalla, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist at [a hospital in Juba], says that trying to reduce maternal mortality is hampered by culture and a lack of awareness about maternal health.” The news service notes that 200 new midwives are expected to graduate from schools in the country next year but writes that “no one expects a quick fix to a problem in such a vast and neglected country that lacks proper roads needed for women to even reach their nearest health facility” (McNeish, 7/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.