A team member finds the arm mid-point of a young mother in order to measure its circumference as he screens for signs of malnutrition, under a small tent on a rainy day at the John Dau Foundation compound in Duk Padiet in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, September 29, 2017. Lutheran World Relief has partnered with IMA World Health and in turn, the John Dau Foundation, to set up and run three life-saving medical stabilization centers that will replace the tents for the treatment of young children and lactating mothers at risk of death from starvation. The project, called “Providing Emergency Nutrition Services in South Sudan” will reach just under 100,000 individuals. (photo by Allison Shelley for Lutheran World Relief)
Responding To South Sudan’s Hunger Crisis
South Sudan’s hunger crisis continues even though its technical declaration of famine was downgraded. Nearly 2 million people have been displaced within South Sudan, the result of ongoing violence in the world’s youngest country. In the midst of insecurity and extreme weather conditions, people have lost the ability to raise livestock, farm vegetables or harvest grains.
Additionally, countrywide food inflation rates in local currency have reached nearly 360 percent and staple food prices are increasing in most markets, according to the World Food Programme’s September report. The UN agency expects food prices to remain at elevated levels for the foreseeable future, negatively affecting household food access.
IMA World Health escalated its work in response to the ongoing crisis during this fiscal year. Thanks to partnership with All We Can, Episcopal Relief & Development, Lutheran World Relief, United Church of Christ and Week of Compassion, as well as generous individual donors, our emergency appeal helped to bring even more points of care, medicines and community engagement to people facing crisis. The in-county team was able to construct nutrition stabilization centers that will give thousands of people–primarily young children, pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding–access to the critical care they so desperately need in the midst of South Sudan’s ongoing hunger crisis. Additional prefabs are in the process of being set up in other areas of the country that are completely cut off from health facilities during the rainy season.
IMA has operated in the area since 2008, before South Sudan was an independent nation. It is one of the few international health service delivery organizations continuing to address critical needs in South Sudan.
A prefabricated clinic was able to be built in Pajut, Duk County, where approximately 3,600 pregnant or lactating women and 7,200 children under 5 years old previously lacked access to health services.
IMA worked with John Dau Foundation, our partners in Duk County, on setting up three additional stabilization centers in Payuel, Ayueldit and Padiet. Ayueldit represents a population of an estimated 30,000 people who are completely cut off from the nutrition and stabilization center services in the wet season. Payuel represents a population of 10,000 people who are cut off from stabilization center services. Padiet represents a population of 38,000.
Plans for the treatment centers include an outpatient monitoring and feeding program for children, as well as women who are pregnant or nursing, who are malnourished but not at immediate risk of death and can be treated at home. The clinics were outfitted with solar equipment, beds, plastic chairs, mattresses, benches and other office supplies, paid for with funding that came in as a result of IMA’s emergency appeal. When the clinics are complete, the permanent structures will ensure the most vulnerable are served in the world’s youngest nation. Read on