For years, the midwifery school has been working toward this day: the opening of its new school building in the South Sudanese capital of Juba. The Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA) celebrated this moment with music, traditional dances and speeches in large marquees. And as a long-standing partner organization, Mission 21 joined in the celebration. Because the project of the new school in Juba is a milestone for the midwifery school and an important step for the society of South Sudan.
During the civil war, which lasted from 2013-2018, the school's building was destroyed. "At times, the midwifery school had to teach under trees and later in a refugee camp in Kenya," says Guliba Florence Hakim, Mission 21's South Sudan country coordinator. But the time in exile is now over: "The new building offers enough classrooms and is easier for the students to reach. So they can also visit other places of education." Local hospitals, for example, where the aspiring midwives can complete internships.
South Sudan suffers from shortage of midwives
In addition to a better infrastructure for teaching, the three-story building also provides space for 15 female students per year. The professionals are urgently needed in South Sudan. There is hardly any other country where so many children die as in South Sudan. Around one in ten children die before the age of five.
In addition, maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the country. "It is more likely for a woman to die in childbirth than to complete secondary school. That's alarming," says Dorina Waldmeyer, Mission 21's program officer for South Sudan. Yet in most cases, deaths could be avoided with prenatal care and postnatal care.
With the new infrastructure, the midwifery school in Juba is making an important contribution to improving the situation. Thanks to donations, Mission 21 supports the school reliably and in the long term, because the commitment to the welfare of mothers and children in South Sudan must be further expanded and strengthened even with the new building.