Maternal Health in South Sudan: Trumpeter Update

Monday Anthony and Lorna Fifia - TCH volunteer
Monday Anthony with Lorna Fifia, a Trumpeter worker

The people of South Sudan are faced with serious challenges in caring for the needs for mothers and new-born babies.

The more instability persists, the harder it is to develop healthcare infrastructure and build the capacity of the existing local clinics which are already operating beyond what they are able to accommodate. The displacement of the population, both to neighbouring countries and in the country itself, also makes it more difficult for people to access the health services that do exist.

Limited government input and insufficient healthcare training opportunities have resulted in a system that is not fit for purpose so a large bulk of the responsibility is left to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). One of these is the Trumpeter Community Health Project or ‘The Trumpeters’, a registered NGO in South Sudan supported and maintained by AID.

The Trumpeters work to promote sanitation and hygienic living in areas around Juba, particularly those close to the Nile where a number of damaging water usage issues arise. They teach local households about hand washing, water purification, latrine construction, oral rehydration solutions, nutrition and repair damaged boreholes.

One of the best ways to strengthen the fragmented health system in South Sudan is by recruiting community members to carry out this work. This participatory approach builds capacity at the grass-roots level and helps the local community to see that they are capable of meeting each other’s healthcare needs rather than relying on large, international organisations. In South Sudan, there is considerably more health provision in urban areas than rural areas – if local community members are equipped in basic healthcare roles, they usually work in their local community which subsequently bridges this gap between rural and urban areas. Trumpeter workers understand the communities they work in because they themselves are members of those communities. Therefore, they are able to gather pinpoint information which enables the Trumpeter Community Health Project coordinators to identify where needs are greatest.

Monday Anthony with her baby

One area of focus for the Trumpeters is training young mothers on topics including exclusive breast feeding, weaning, nutrition and vaccination. These topics are vital in supporting proper child health development. Monday Anthony (pictured), a mother of five, has received support from the Trumpeter Community Health Project since her youngest was born this year:

‘Since I came home from [the] delivery room, Trumpeter Community Health have been visiting me a few times following up on development of the child. During the visits, I have been able to learn a few important issues like exclusive breast feeding, one of the volunteers encouraged me to go for exclusive breast feeding, and to my observation my child she is growing healthy day by day. It’s less complicated and helps the people not to fall sick from time to time…I have learnt about vaccination; the volunteers remind me always when to go for the next vaccination. And now my baby [is] approaching 6 months I’m learning about weaning and nutrition. I know when I start, I will be able to prepare balanced meals for my child. With this knowledge I feel am a better mother than before.’

Please pray for Monday Anthony as she continues to put her training from the Trumpeters into practice. Please pray also for Lorna (pictured at the top of the page) and other Trumpeter workers as they seek to serve young mothers in the Juba area in the name of Jesus Christ.

To give £5 to this project, text ‘Trumpet’ to 70450.