Despite its peaceful separation from Sudan eleven years ago, conflict has persisted in South Sudan for a very long time – hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. Now, the country faces crisis levels of hunger, life-threatening malnutrition and some of the worst cases of infant mortality in the world. The humanitarian needs in South Sudan are enormous, and continue to grow with each passing day.
It can be easy to lose faith, even to lose hope, yet we – the team in South Sudan – haven’t. Tearfund and our local partners continue to work hard and we are able to see God’s goodness and his kingdom coming every day as we continue to support the people most affected by the crises.
The need is great in South Sudan, but we believe that God has brought us this far, and has great plans for our nation. Here are some of the ways we are investing in the future of South Sudan and how you can continue to pray with us.
All the difference
Tearfund is working with UNICEF to run home and clinic screening across three counties in South Sudan. These visits not only help establish better relationships with communities, so people know how and where to get support from, but they’ve also helped to spot early signs of malnutrition. It’s made all the difference to families like Elizabeth’s*.
‘After birth, my child, Matida*, was healthy and I was happy as well,’ says Elizabeth, a 19-year-old mother. ‘But after six months, her health started to deteriorate. [She went] from being a playful, joyous girl and started crying a lot, breastfeeding less and sometimes could not even eat food.’
Elizabeth took her to a local hospital to check for malaria – the biggest killer of children under five in South Sudan – but the tests came back negative.
‘I was confused, I kept wondering what was wrong with my baby?’ shares Eizabeth.
It was a home visit from Tearfund that gave Elizabeth the answers she desperately needed.
‘One day the team from Tearfund came to my home for screening. They asked me if I received training on how to perform screening for a child’s malnutrition from the upper arm, I told them no,’ continues Elizabeth.
‘The team then demonstrated to me how to do it for my child and I did it well.’
By measuring the circumference of the left upper arm, at the midpoint between the tip of the shoulder and the tip of the elbow, families can check the child’s health.
The results showed that Matida lacked enough nutrients, which is why she had been losing so much weight. Matida was immediately referred to Tearfund’s feeding centre.