UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund and the Swedish government signed an additional funding of SEK 60 million (approximately USD 7 million) to increase the provision of integrated sexual and reproductive health services in the country.
The grant is in addition to the $ 13 million signed in 2019 to support the implementation of UNFPA’s third country program in South Sudan over a period of three years (2019-2021). The new financing extends to December 2022.
UNFPA’s acting national representative Dr. Chris Oyeyipo acknowledged the Swedish government’s support for improving access to maternity and neonatal care, family planning, youth – friendly health services and prevention and response to gender-based violence in South Sudan. The new funds will also support humanitarian efforts and the completion of the population assessment survey.
Joachim Waern, head of the Swedish embassy in South Sudan, said that the new funding aims to help strengthen the national health system and programs for sexual and reproductive health. “It will also help improve young people’s ability to plan their lives through family planning, promote women’s empowerment and equality, and prevent child marriage.”
South Sudan is still in the grip of a humanitarian crisis despite the signing of the revived peace agreement in September 2018. Its reproductive health indicators are among the worst in the world, including maternal mortality of 1,150 deaths per 100,000 live births (UN, World Bank estimates, 2017); birth rates for adolescents of 158 per 1,000 live births; low contraceptive use was 4.5 percent for all methods (with only 1.7 percent for modern methods); and 30 percent of HIV infections among adolescents aged 15-24.
Sweden has been a major partner in UNFPA’s midwifery projects in South Sudan since 2013. The Strengthening Midwifery Services Project has contributed to improving maternal health through the training and deployment of midwives and other care staff, equipment of care facilities and strengthened midwifery and nursing policies in the country. The project helped increase the number of qualified midwives from less than 10 at the country’s independence in 2011 to more than 900 today.
Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).