HPF midwives working tirelessly to improve maternal and child health outcomes

Mayendit county is one of the eight counties in Unity State. The county has an estimated population of 97,754 individuals as per the 2021 HRP Health Cluster. Children Aid South Sudan in collaboration with partner IRC works together with the County Health Department in implementing HPF3 in the county.

There are 12 HPF-supported health facilities in Mayendit county, providing critical health care services to the population of need, two Primary Health Care Centres (PHCCs) – Rubkuay and Mayendit – and 10 Primary Health Care Units (PHCUs) – Dablual, Jaguar, Kuok, Leah, Loum, Madol, Malkuer, Paboung, Thaker, and Tutnyang. HPF supports a total of 123 staff providing critical and essential primary health care services at the PHCCs and PHCUs. There are 80 Boma Health Workers (BHWs) that provide the Boma Health Initiative (BHI) package, treating children aged under five with malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, immunisation services including defaulter tracing, safe motherhood packages, screening for malnutrition and referrals to nearby health facilities. Provision of maternal and child health care services remains crucial among the key health care services in the HPF-supported facilities.

Jeska Poni, a 35-year-old midwife, is part of the team that strives every day to provide maternal and child health (MCH) services at Rubkuay PHCC. Jeska is passionate about motherhood and has always taken the lead to ensure that mothers are reached with key messages about the
importance of attending antenatal care (ANC) services and ensuring they are aware of other available MCH services. “By knowing the available MCH services that are provided with support from HPF, we can save lives, mothers are able to come for ANC visits and receive services such as safe delivery, post-natal care (PNC), family planning services, post abortion care, treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV services,” said Jeska. “But as my team and I provide these services, I realised it’s important to maintain good records that help us to make follow-ups promptly.”

“After I started work in December 2021, the health facility in-charge, who is my supervisor, advised me that HPF and IRC require us to maintain proper health facility records including ANC visit data using Ministry of Health registers. I had some training, and this helped to capacitate me in addition to the on-job trainings and mentorship I receive from the health facility in-charge,” she added.

Over the period, we have been able to keep records such as ANC visits and this has helped to reach out to mothers who used to miss their planned schedules. Whenever mothers come for the services, they are screened for STIs, HIV and AIDs, anaemia, and other infections such as malaria. Thanks to HPF we have the supplies that we need to meet the health demands of the
mothers,” said Jeska.

“Above all, I have progressively acquired knowledge to provide better services to mothers with good record-keeping. I make plans for follow-ups of the mothers in the community. I hope to further improve and provide even better services to the community.”

According to Jeska, ANC visits were initially low because mothers were not aware of the available services and record-keeping was poor. “ANC records in Rubkuay have now improved and there is a great change,” she said. “Many pregnant mothers are attending services and the number of fourth visits has increased in January and February 2022 compared with December 2021.”

She added: “We are providing counselling and education on maternal health care. This has helped to reach many mothers in the community.”

Jeska Poni recording details of clients at the ANC Department, Rubkuay PHCC

At Rubkuay PHCC, Jeska attended to 32-year-old expectant mother Nyamuot Badeng, who revealed that she was advised by a neighbour to come to the health facility for ANC services.

“Attending ANC services at a health facility will help me deliver safely,” said Nyamuot, who was 24 weeks pregnant at the time of the visit. “I was just planning to go to Leer for a visit, but I came to Rubkuay straight away because I was told I can be helped to deliver safely. I really want to thank HPF and partners for saving the lives of the community, otherwise we would be dying.”

The take home message from this is that quality of care and improved record keeping increases community support for antenatal clinic visits.

Story by Children Aid South Sudan/International Rescue Committee, Mayendit County, Unity State.