Hundreds of women’s lives could be in danger if the the UN proceeds with a plan to close the Mingkaman reproductive health clinic in South Sudan’s Lakes State.
The lone facility serves more than 200, 000 people, mostly those displaced the 2013 war and natural disasters such as floods.
The United Nations has said it intends to end the centre’s operations due to a lack of funding.
“It will be hard for us if it closes. This hospital has helped a lot,” said Mary Afred, a 28-year-old mother two.
With UN funding, the centre has helped thousands of mothers have safe births in a country where maternal and infant mortality remains high. There are worries that if the centre shuts down, these gains will be lost.
“Our aim, our mission is to reduce maternal mortality rate. Every woman should deliver safely. If the facility closes there will be many deaths in the community,” said Teresa Achuei, the site manager for reproductive health services at Mingkaman.
Women who have traditionally had babies in home settings are now coming to this reproductive clinic.
The maternal mortality rate in South Sudan was 789 per 100,000 live births in 2019, according to the World Health Organisation.