Healthy Foundations | South Sudan

Healthy Foundations: Under 5 Health and Nutrition Support Project

Partner | Loreto Rumbek

Location | Maker Kuei, Rumbek, South Sudan

Overview 

Healthy Foundations aims at improving the general health and nutritional wellbeing of children under the age of five in the remote community of Maker Kuei in South Sudan.

South Sudan, the youngest country in Africa and the world, has several complex health emergencies, including famine, conflict and disease outbreaks. Close to 66% of the South Sudanese population does not have access to a safe water source, and 1 in 5 health facilities are non-functional. The prevalence of communicable and preventable diseases is high. Those who have access to medical facilities lack sufficient resources to pay for tests and purchase medicine.

Through this project, children are enrolled in a nutrition feeding program where they benefit from nutritious daily meals and receive medical check-ups, tests and free medication.

This project also incorporates health outreach activities targeted at children living in a nearby orphanage run by the Mother Teresa Sisters. Outreach activities are facilitated by Mary Ward Primary Health Care Centre staff who carry out twice-weekly visits to the orphanage where they provide the caregivers with health education while the children are assessed, treated for medical conditions and given vaccinations.

Challenges

Access to food and nutrition for children and the wider community of Maker Kuei is always difficult. However, this year’s lean season was made worse by the high cost of food imports from neighbouring countries. Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda faced crop losses due to locust invasions. Given that South Sudan is a heavy net food importer, food costs rose dramatically as yields reduced in these areas. The pandemic has made matters deteriorate further as travel restrictions and the closure of borders limited trade and access to markets. Unexpected flooding also limited the movement of goods and people and led to the destruction of many food crops in the region.

Impact

Through this project, it is expected that the health of children under the age of five in the Make Kuei area of Rumbek will improve. Many children in this community have poor nutrition, minimal access to medical care and even less access to life-saving vaccines. This project provides these children with healthier foundations that enable them to live and grow past the age of five, significantly increasing their chances of survival into adulthood and going on to lead full and healthy lives.

Activities

Two nurses from the Mary Ward Primary Health Care Centre are responsible for running the project and carrying out the following daily activities:

  • Conduct health assessments of the children.
  • Provide medical prescriptions for any identified health issues. 
  • Develop health teaching materials for use by the assistant staff supporting the nurses.
  • Deliver health education sessions to parents and carers and to the orphanage caregivers. 
  • Provide programmatic support through documentation, translation and follow up work.