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Amref tackling a critical shortage of midwives

Young girl with baby


Somak Holidays continues to support Amref Health Africa – this mother’s day together we want to help make motherhood safer for women across Africa.

Tackling a critical shortage of midwives in South Sudan

In South Sudan, women like Catherine Benneth are very rare. In the world’s newest country, decades of internal conflict have left it void of even the most basic healthcare resources. With just one midwife to every 30,000 women South Sudan is one of the most dangerous places for a woman to give birth. For young girls, the chance of dying during childbirth is three times that of entering secondary education. It’s a statistic that proved all too real for Catherine.


Women with babies in AMREF clinic


‘The mortality rate is really too high for mothers. You will hear today, a mother has died due to delivery. Every time you hear they are dying just because of delivery. It’s just because of the poor service they are having. We don’t have enough health workers who can really help in the community.’

That’s why, with the support of Amref Health Africa, Catherine decided to train as a midwife and to become part of a solution looking to change the face of maternal health in the Maridi county of South Sudan.


Nurse checking pregnant woman


‘My interest in midwifery is all about the mothers and how they are suffering’ Catherine explains. ‘When you see a mother who wanted to bring life into the world, just passed away like that, it is so painful. In our community it’s worse because you find many pregnant women who just stay in their homes. Most of them fear to go to hospital because it is very far and there is no transport for them’.

The majority of maternal deaths can be easily prevented through routine antenatal checks and skilled support during birth. The solutions are well known, and they are inexpensive. By giving women like Catherine the chance to gain a professional skill set we can be part of that solution – one that is reaching out to women and young girls across South Sudan.


Health care worker with mother and baby


‘My expectation when I have finished my training is going out to serve my community. Even if I do not work at this hospital, I will be able to move around in the community where there are people who cannot reach other help… that’s why we are here’.

Catherine Benneth is part of our work to train 23 midwives in the Maridi region of South Sudan. Together with her colleagues she is part of a project aiming to bring critical maternal health services to more than 108,000 people living across the county.

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