Title scene and above, an illustration by Hannah Rounding, “Buy the Wisdom with Money and Buy the Kingdom with Wisdom”, Folktale from the Renk community, South Sudan Folktales, personal collection. See more of these beautiful pieces in Hannah Rounding, Original works and read and listen to the folktales they illustrate in South Sudan Folk Tales
Above, Kimu Health and Literacy Centre, Juba, South Sudan. This week’s blogpost is dedicated to the life-saving work of our South Sudan partner, Kimu Integrated Development Organization, whom we have been proud to collaborate with for many years. This is the first of several posts on KIDO’s remarkable work.
“Kimu Integrated Development Organization, formerly Kimu Charitable Society (KCS), works for the improvement of educational and health status for women and children, the promotion of women’s education and of peace culture among South Sudan communities, regardless of religion, race or ethnic affiliation.”
Mission statement of our local partner, based in Juba, South Sudan, providing health and education services to vulnerable communities there, with special focus on the needs of women and girls. Below, Silas Jojo, KIDO director and tireless worker for the South Sudanese.
Health and Literacy in South Sudan; Outposts of Hope
Kimu Integrated Development Organization (KIDO) and Women’s Education Partnership – Our Presence in South Sudan; Essential Health and Literacy Programmes
The Context / What We Do / What We Hope to Do
Above, undertaking medical analyses at Kimu health centre, Juba.
South Sudan suffers some of the worst health outcome indicators in the world. The statistics are heartbreaking; maternal mortality is estimated at 789 per100,000 live births and neonatal and under-five mortality rates at 39.3 and 999.2, per 1000 live births respectively, (World Health Organization Health South Sudan). HIV/AIDS prevalence is estimated at 2.6%, and is defined as a generalized epidemic (UN AIDS South Sudan) Hepatitis B and C are endemic in South Sudan, causing cancer if untreated. Syphilis is also widespread and its incidence among pregnant women is of particular concern to health experts. Adult literacy in South Sudan is amongst the lowest in the world, estimated at only 34.5% (male literacy 40.2%, female literacy only 28.8% (UNESCO, 2018).
The pressing need for literacy and health education in South Sudan has been exacerbated by the collapse of educational and health infrastructures as a result of the civil war which has claimed over 300,000 lives and generated over 1.8 million internally displaced people. Our work in the areas of literacy and health contributes to the values and goals of the World Health Organization Country Cooperation Strategy for South Sudan, UN 2030 Sustainability Goals and South Sudan’s Ministry of Health National Health Policy.
Above, KIDO’s Covid-19 vaccination centre; a government-approved vaccination hub for the whole area.
What We Do
Kimu Health Centre
Our health centre provides both preventative health and medical treatment services to over 150 beneficiaries daily. It is the hub for health services for those living 25 kilometres west of Juba. We offer consultations with doctors, laboratory testing and screening, medical dressings, and injections.
Our preventative health programme provides ante-natal services, nutrition, immunization and AIDS/HIV awareness. Recently we have also undertaken Covid-19 awareness training and the health centre has been selected by the government as a Covid-19 vaccination centre.
Right, a patient consultation at the health centre.
Kimu literacy Centre
We currently have 220 direct literacy learners enrolled (up from 120 in 2020), taught by eight Ministry of Education-approved teachers in five classrooms. Basic health and nutrition awareness forms part of our practical, skills-based literacy programme, aimed at providing attendees with work skills and health awareness needed to improve their life chances.
Founded in 2017 to teach women who had never had the chance to attend school as children, Kimu Literacy School also targets underage mothers forced by their circumstances to abandon school. Target groups also include war widows, orphans and those who come from poor backgrounds and traditional cultures where women’s education may not be seen as a priority. In its second year, KIDO acceded to requests from young men who had also lost the chance of going to school, and now has a few young male learners.
Next year, six women from Kimu’s adult literacy school will sit for the senior entry examinations (primary level graduation certificate examinations). Above, Kimu’s Nutrition Centre.
What We Hope to Do
The need for health education and services is desperate and Covid-19 has only worsened the life chances of so many South Sudanese. We are currently working to extend and develop our work. What we want to do is to provide much needed:
1) Basic health and disease prevention training for our literacy learners and health centre users in the form of weekly training delivered by local qualified health volunteers.
2) Training in HIV AIDS awareness, voluntary HIV counseling and testing; ante- and postnatal care (with special focus given to nutrition and breastfeeding) for our literacy learners and health centre users in the form of undertaken by qualified local volunteers, and
3) Hepatitis B,C and syphilis screening for our existing literacy learners and health centre users, undertaken by our local health ministry workers. Screening will take part in our health clinic adjacent to the literacy school.
We estimate the project will reach over 800 direct beneficiaries as in addition to the 220 literacy school direct beneficiaries, a further 600 community members who use the health centre will benefit directly from the improved health awareness and skills gained. The project will foment behavioural change among the community in terms of improved hygiene practices in the home, greater HIV/AIDS awareness and disease prevention in general. Our ante-and postnatal training for pregnant and new mothers will contribute to a reduction in maternal and infant mortality and as we teach our beneficiaries to mentor and communicate their knowledge to their female relatives and friends, overall community mortality rates will fall. Hepatitis and Syphilis screening will help reduce the spread of these diseases locally and syphilis screening among our pregnant beneficiaries in particular will proactively reduce the health risk and spread of the disease among vulnerable mothers and their children.
Above left, midwives sterilizing medical equipment.
We estimate 3200 family and community members (based on a typical South Sudan household of four members) will benefit indirectly as direct beneficiaries’ knowledge and skills filter down to those in contact with them and disease screening protects and identifies members at risk and their families.
If you would like to know more about this exciting and demanding project, please contact the blog.
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