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S. Sudan: Japan earmarks 1.65m for mothers and children

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January 4, 2016 (JUBA) - The Government of Japan has earmarked $1.65 million and delivered three ambulances to health facilities in three conflict-affected locations of South Sudan, where 250,000 women of reproductive age reportedly in need of obstetric services.

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Children in South Sudan. (Photo UNMISS/Ilya Medvedev)

The ambulances, according to a statement, were handed over by the ambassador of Japan to South Sudan, Kiya Masahiko, to the national minister of health, Riek Kok Gai, in the presence of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative, Ibrahim Sambuli.

The ambulances, according to the statement extended to Sudan Tribune, are part of the $3.22 million that Japan government disbursed in 2015 for the year-long UNFPA project, “Strengthening Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care in Crisis affected areas of South Sudan.”

This project reportedly saw five ambulances, assorted maternal health and gender-based violence response equipment and supplies sent to South Sudan.

“The people of Japan care about the health of mothers who bring new life to South Sudan that has been devastated by long years of conflict,” said Masahiko.

“We believe that the challenge of building a new nation starts with caring for the life of new-born babies and of their families. In that spirit, we hope that enhanced obstetrics and neonatal care services will lay the foundation of a vibrant society where people enjoy full-fledged healthcare services,” he added.

Since 2014, the Japanese government, through UNFPA, has reportedly allocated $ 4.42 million to the provision of reproductive healthcare equipment and infrastructure as well as the enhancement of management of medical aspects of gender-based violence in the conflict-affected Greater Upper Nile from a humanitarian point of view.

The Government of Japan will further extend support to obstetrics and neonatal care with an additional $1.65 million starting next month, it emerged.

“This support from the Government of Japan is very crucial as it facilitates timely referral of mothers with pregnancy-related complications to regional health facilities as well as prompt improvement of their capacity to handle such complications. This would go a long way in preventing unnecessary maternal deaths which are contributing to the high maternal mortality rate in the country”, said the UNFPA country representative.

Meanwhile, UNFPA and its partners estimate there will be 190,000 births in 2016, among which 23,500 are likely to get pregnancy-related complications.

(ST)

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