Women are great contributors in advanced economies in all sectors. These include politics, economy, social issues, healthcare, education and so forth. This happens because they have been empowered through quality education, healthcare, rights protection and non-discriminatory laws.
However in South Sudan, women die from pregnancy related complications than to finish a primary education. South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world with over 2,054 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Bad still, over 25% of children die from common preventable and neglected childhood illnesses before they reach their fifth birthday.
Female literacy rate is only 16% and this has an enormous impact on the health, food production, education, politics and the whole array of social issues such as human and women’s rights.
Women in rural and remote communities travel hundreds of kilometres to towns for treatment either for themselves, their children or their elderly parents. While in towns, they leave behind children, farms, livestock and other responsibilities. Due to lack of adequate healthcare services even in bigger towns, they may not find treatment and remain there for very long time, sometimes months to years. Their absence from their farming communities has very negative impacts on the economy, society and in particular their families as farming output is reduced, malnutrition, hunger or famine set in, depression, suicide and sometimes subsequent forced migration of the remaining family members to towns.
Until South Sudan starts to take care of her women, the society will remain in chaos, poverty, poor health and illiterate.
As a result, Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association aims to contribute to the health and welbeing of rural women and their children.
Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association was founded by a group of friends in Australia who, starting from January 2012, were involved in the supply of lifesaving drugs to people in South Sudan. These drugs were mainly antimalarial, antibiotics, antiepileptics, pain relief, worm treatment, and schistosomiasis. The impact this meagre supply has on the local community is considerable as lives are saved and changed for the better. As a result, Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Assocation was born to carry on this generous work to all those in the area.
Athiolget is a plant that grows during rainy season in South Sudan and has been widely used in Pariang County as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years. This traditional remedy is used to treat malaria, typhoid, kala-azar, worms, respiratory infections, and nearly all forms of infections. It was a corner stone approach that many families used, especially during the long civil war between South Sudan and the Islamic Khartoum government in the north (1983-2005). As families remained isolated from the rest of the world and in hiding from the brutal government, their loved ones died day and night from all forms of diseases including malaria, malnutrition, typhoid, kala-azar, sleeping sickness, tuberculosis, meningitis, snake bites and so forth. This caused extreme desperation and hopelessness.
Although this remedy isn’t effective, it brought hope and comfort particularly to mothers who gave it to their babies and hoped to see them the next day. Therefore, Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association as an organisation aims to bring hope to families in remote villages who remain isolated and have no access to health services. It will provide basic essential medicines and basic surgical, birthing kits and wound care materials to South Sudan remote villages.
In most parts of South Sudan, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure is lacking and are fundamental in reducing disease burden such as air, water and food borne diseases e.g. typhoid, cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea and TB. As such, this organisation will undertake health promotion, education and training needs in those remote areas to improve hygiene and sanitation. This will include educating and encouraging use of pit latrines, providing safe drinking water and mosquito nets. Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association will provide health information on communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and STIs and to provide first aid courses to all health professionals, volunteers and schools.
South Sudan became an independent country from Sudan in July 2011 after five decades of civil war. As a result access to services such as healthcare and education is non-existent, limited or very poor. There are shortages of health and educational facilities, skilled healthcare workers and limited supplies of drugs and health equipment. Non-governmental organisations, both local and international, play an important role in filling the gap in providing these services. In fact, South Sudan has the worst markers of development and her healthcare system is ranked the lowest in the world. Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association as a non-profit organisation, aims to help in the current conflict that has engulfed the country since mid-December 2013 and has made the already bad situation much worse.
- To supply lifesaving drugs that will improve women’s and children’s health in South Sudan
- To help the local population in building and maintaining health facilities e.g. clinics
- Educate local community groups on important health issues, e.g. Women’s on sanitation and hygiene
- Provide short courses such as First Aid to local population and healthcare workers and volunteers
- To improve health education and training needs for healthcare workers in South Sudan especially with the aim of increasing the number of female healthcare workers.
- To work toward a better standard of living in South Sudan by improving sanitation and hygiene infrastructure e.g. safe drinking water
- Obtain, collect and receive money or funds by way of contributions, donations, grants and any other lawful method towards the aims of the Group.