Juba, South Sudan – UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Government of Sweden signed a 60 million Swedish Krona (approximately USD 7 million) additional funding to boost the provision of integrated sexual and reproductive health services in the country.
The contribution is in addition to the USD 13 million signed in 2019 to support the implementation of UNFPA’s 3rd Country Programme in South Sudan over a period of three years (2019-2021). The new funding will run through to December 2022.
UNFPA acting Country Representative Dr. Chris Oyeyipo acknowledged the support of the Swedish government towards the improvement of access to maternal and newborn care, family planning, youth-friendly health services, and prevention and response to gender-based violence in South Sudan. The new funds will also support humanitarian response and the completion of the Population Estimation Survey.
Mr. Joachim Waern, Head of mission Embassy of Sweden in South Sudan said the new funding is aimed at helping strengthen the national health system and sexual and reproductive health programmes. “It will also help improve young people’s ability to plan their lives through family planning, promote women’s empowerment and gender equality, and prevent child marriage.”
South Sudan remains in the grip of a humanitarian crisis despite the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018. Its reproductive health indicators are among the worst in the world, including maternal mortality ratio at 1,150 deaths per 100,000 live births (UN, World Bank estimates, 2017); adolescent birth rate at 158 per 1,000 live births; low contraceptive use at 4.5 per cent for all methods (with only 1.7 per cent for modern methods); and 30 per cent of HIV infections among young people 15-24 years old.
Sweden has been a major partner for UNFPA’s midwifery project in South Sudan since 2013. The Strengthening Midwifery Services Project has contributed to the improvement of maternal health through the training and deployment of midwives and other health professionals, equipping of health facilities and strengthening midwifery and nursing policies in the country. The Project was instrumental in increasing the number of qualified midwives from less than 10 at the country’s independence in 2011 to more than 900 today.