African Relief and Development Foundation
Provision of Integrated Child Health Program (ICHP)
Aweil South, South Sudan
The under-five mortality rate in South Sudan is among the highest globally, at 98.7 per 1,000 lives (UNICEF, 2021). In Aweil South County of Northern Barhar el Ghazel state, under five deaths occur as a result of childhood morbidities such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Many of these conditions are triggered by severe acute malnutrition, where the GAM rate in Aweil South County is 23.1% and exceeds WHO thresholds (UNICEF South Sudan Humanitarian Situation Report No. 164). Immunization coverage in North Bahr Ghazal is also very low, where only 49.5% of children between 12-23 months old received three doses of pentavalent vaccinations (South Sudan EPI Vaccination Coverage Survey 2017).
There is currently limited access to child healthcare services in Aweil South County due to a lack of healthcare facilities in hard to reach areas and frequent flooding. Additionally, there are limited supplies of essential drugs and community health care workers that are trained to manage prevelant conditions in children under five.
ARDF will increase access to integrated child health care services at the grassroot level through the Boma Health Initiative (BHI). The project will train and equip 100 Boma Health Workers (BHWs) with supplies to detect pneumonia, diagnose and treat malaria, screen for malnutrition cases, and promote preventive health practices. The intervention will also build two county level vaccination teams for weekly outreach sessions in hard to reach communities.
The project is novel in it’s focus to engage community structures, such as Boma Health Workers (BHWs) and Boma Health Committees (BHCs), in targeted communities and provide training for basic management of children morbidities. This intervention also consists of multiple elements including health education, malaria testing and treatment, pneumonia detection, malnutrition screenings, and immunization screenings and referrals.
The project is led by Dr. Alex Mawa, the Health Program Manager for the African Relief Development Foundation. Dr. Mawa is a master trainer for frontline health workers on community child health programs and integrated management of newborn and childhood illnesses (IMNCI), and has been leading child health programs in South Sudan for 15 years. He has a background in Medicine and Public Health, and is currently specializing in Maternal and Child Health at the James Lind Institiute in Switzerland.
African Relief and Development Foundation (ARDF) is a non-profitable, non-governmental organization registered and recognized by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) in the Republic of South Sudan. ARDF was established in 2014 with an aim to save lives, improve health in vulnerable populations, and transform lives. ARDF has implemented multiple emergency health and health service projects funded by the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF), World Bank, and USAID.