South Sudan Women Choose Family Planning, Longer Lives

Hannah McNeish – Voice of America – Friday, 09 November 2012 (originally published 08 Nov)

Children seated in waiting area laugh, talk, and care for younger siblings
Children wait for their mothers at the Antenatal Clinic in South Sudan. Image: H. McNeish/ VOA

JUBA , SOUTH SUDAN — In war-ravaged South Sudan, a lack of basic health and education, early marriage, and a culture that values big families have led to alarming child mortality rates, and given the poverty-stricken nation the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. But as aid agencies move in to provide basic healthcare, South Sudanese women are getting the chance to improve their chances for a long life.

At a health clinic on the outskirts of Juba, women dangling babies on their laps and shushing others listen with rapt attention to a health worker explaining various methods of birth control.

Cut off for almost 50 years by Africa’s longest running civil war, newly-independent South Sudan has been building a health service from scratch with the help of international aid agencies . . .

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