Building Better Health Among South Sudanese Women and Children

June 7, 2024 • South Sudan
Through Samaritan's Purse Maternal Child Health training, children are growing stronger and healthier and avoiding diseases.
Through Samaritan's Purse Maternal Child Health training, children are growing stronger and healthier and avoiding diseases.

Through the Samaritan’s Purse Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition program, South Sudan communities are growing healthier and stronger.

Care for Mothers and Babies

Until just recently, sickness was simply a way of life in the many remote villages of Mayendit County, South Sudan. Waterborne illness, poor nutrition, and infections ran rampant among mothers and their children.

The training workshops also provided opportunities for prayer and sharing from God’s Word.

This was true until women like Nydech, a mother of seven, was invited to join the Maternal, Infant, and Young Children Nutrition (MIYCN) program provided through Samaritan’s Purse. Selected by her own community’s leaders to become a lead mother in the program, Nydech received eye-opening training that she’s been able to pass on to other mothers in her community and beyond.

Dispelling Misunderstandings and Myths to Save Lives and Build Community

Nydech learned simple everyday practices that could prevent spreading disease between mothers and children—such as handwashing.

Parents learn about proper nutrition and hygiene.

Parents learn about proper nutrition and hygiene.

“We used to think soap was only for washing clothes,” she said. “Through this training, we found out that soap can be used to keep hands clean, which improves the health and hygiene of our families.”

Simple adjustments in how nursing is approached has had a profound impact on the health of children as well.

For many generations, women thought the “yellow milk” they produced in a child’s first days of nursing was actually harmful to the newborn. But now they feed them the nutrient-rich, immune-building colostrum so vital for infants in their first days of nursing.

In the past, Nydech said, there were high rates of sickness among children and babies as mothers fed them water and cow’s milk instead of breastmilk. Now, as she trains women in her care group to wash their hands, to eat the right things, and to practice proper breastfeeding, those numbers have dropped.

They will take this knowledge and teach others in their communities.

They will take this knowledge and teach others in their communities.

More women in Mayendit now seek medical advice and intervention for their pregnancies, and, as a result, fewer pregnancy complications have emerged in the villages.

Nydech has stressed the importance of medical check-ins for pregnant women, she’s encouraged women to go to clinics or birthing centers when in labor. Involving professionals, such as midwives, in their pregnancies has saved the lives of many infants and mothers.

Mothers Teaching Mothers

As all this vital knowledge is passed down through MIYCN care groups, it could be halting an inheritance of preventable health problems that Mayendit has suffered with for generations.

So far, more than 110 such care groups, each with seven to 12 members, have been established in Mayendit, and slowly the thinking and the quality of life are improving in the region. Nydech says that the families she knows are healthier than ever.

“Our children now have no diarrhea, and they are healthy due to everything we learned from the trainings on breastfeeding,” Nydech said. “The mothers are also healthy and no longer get sick while pregnant. We have learned to deliver at a [medical] facility and not at home. We have learned so much from Samaritan’s Purse, and we want to continue to know more.”

Care for Mothers and Babies Tragically, hundreds of young mothers and thousands of newborns die every day from preventable causes. Your gift can help Samaritan’s Purse reduce the mortality rates of women and their young children by improving obstetric care, teaching essential nutrition practices, and increasing access to quality healthcare.

Prenatal & Maternity Care 013717
Suggested $75