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Nursing students take part in marking International Day of the Midwife


Maridi School of Nursing and Midwifery  students take part in celebrations to mark International Day of the Midwife

Students from Maridi School of Nursing and Midwifery (MSNM) joined other health practitioners in commemoration of the International Day of the Midwife.

The celebration took place at Maridi Freedom Square, on May 5, where hundreds of community members had gathered to commemorate the day. This annual event is devoted to appreciating the role of midwives and healthcare professionals with midwifery skills, in accelerating progress towards improving maternal health.

The County Commissioner for Maridi County, Hon. Ismail Fatala, admitted that challenges affecting women health in the region are still far-reaching. “I would not have been here if it was not for a midwife. The efforts of midwives go unmentioned, but that does not mean that you are forgotten,” said Fatala. He affirmed the government’s support to lift the standard of the lowly-respected midwives. “We can assure you that we can support you. Our major priority is to reduce the rate of maternal and infant mortality.”

Midwives were honoured for their contribution and efforts in saving the lives of mothers, sometimes under very difficult circumstances, in hard-to-reach communities, in humanitarian emergencies, and in fragile and conflict-torn countries.

MSNM was started in the 1980’s by AAH South Sudan, as a minute nursing school. But it has grown to be among the top medical institutions in South Sudan.

In the last 20 years, more than 900 health workers have been trained at the institution. The trainees undertake their practical training at Maridi County Hospital that has been run by AAH South Sudan since its inception.  The hospital treats an average of 24,000 patients, annually.

Work starts on rehabilitating shallow wells in El Wak, Somalia

Construction of a water tank in progress in El Wak. The complete work, which includes a solar pumping system,  is expected to take three months. 

Work to rehabilitate a shallow well in El Wak town has begun, through construction of a water tank. This is one of the interventions underway as part of the Integrated Community Rehabilitation Programme in El Wak District, Gedo Region, South Central Somalia.
The water source is expected to serve people in four locations: October, Madina, Howlwadaag and Waberi. The neighbouring villages of Dharken Doqay, El Banda, Goryole and Tulo Garas, as well as pastoralists in surrounding areas, will also benefit from the well.

"This shallow well is one of the few in this town that has plenty of water. The locals depend on it for their daily consumption and also for their livestock,’’ said Mr. Alow Mohamed, one of the water committee members who has lived in El Wak for the last 35 years. “Rehabilitating this shallow well  will be beneficial, not only to us but to the neighbouring villages and to the pastoralists in the area.”

A solar water pumping system for the shallow well is scheduled to be installed in June.
AAH-I launched the integrated project in mid-February 2016, with Nomadic Assistance For Peace and Development (NAPAD), its project implementing partner.

The project's objectives include to improve household food security levels, increase local knowledge and practices related to primary health care, increase access to Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and improve livelihoods among the target population by 2018.



Traditional birth attendants trained on safe delivery

A section of the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) who attended a three-day training on the importance of women attending health facilities for delivery and follow-up. The training took place in Mushota, Kawambwa District, Luapula Province of Zambia.

“We see women give birth on the way to health facilities, while others choose to deliver from home. Some of these women loose their lives in the delivery process,” says one of the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA).

These are among the sentiments shared by the 20 TBAs who recently participated in a three-day training on the importance of pregnant women attending health facilities for delivery and follow up-services.

The women were drawn from the five catchment areas of Kawambwa District, where AAH Zambia has been implementing maternal and reproductive health services for the last two years. The training was held in Mushota catchment area.

Alubina Mulenga, 55, one of participants, said the information the group had acquired from the training had been helpful and enabled them to manage pregnancy complications when they arose.

“From 2014 to date we have seen the number of maternal and infant deaths decline because of the sensitisation we have carried out on the importance of accessing reproductive services before, during and after pregnancy. The sensitisation has been positively responded to by both men and women,” Alubina explained.

Every time a woman goes into labour, a TBA is the first point of contact in terms of facilitation for that particular woman to be taken to the health centre. “Due to the training we have undergone, we are able to detect any complications that could occur. Thus, we arrange for the mother to be taken to a health centre,” she said.

Alubina said the group also monitored the progress of the pregnancies recorded in their respective communities. They make follow-ups to ensure women visit antenatal clinics and receive all the necessary maternal health services.

“This is all thanks to AAH Zambia who have from time to time facilitated training sessions such as this one where we are guided and reminded on how to work effectively in our respective communities,” she said.

The TBAs are part of the volunteers known as Community Action Groups (CAGS) that AAH Zambia has been working with to implement maternal and reproductive health service activities in Kawambwa for two years.



Community members undergo sanitation training


The Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) training took place in Kagoma Village, Kyangwali Refugee Settlement, Uganda

In April 2016, 45 community members from Kagoma village, in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement underwent training in Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) practices.
The six-day training, which took place in Kagoma village,  was facilitated by AAH-Uganda and the National Certified Community-Led Total Sanitation group. It aimed at equipping participants with the skills needed to train other locals to build latrines and engage in good waste disposal.
Participants included AAH Uganda’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) staff, Village Health Team (VHT) members, and Village Social Workers, as well as representatives from Refugee Welfare Council (RWC), Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and a representative from UNHCR.
AAH Uganda's WASH Coordinator, Ms. Fiona Mary Aber, said the organisation is committed to training and empowering community members to be self-reliant and to use locally-available materials to put up pit latrines, while also encouraging them to stop the practice of open defecation, which spreads diseases.
“We hope that after the training, they will be empowered to lead other homesteads in championing construction of latrines in the community and do away with open defecation,” Aber said.
Mr. David Ibuyat, an expert in community health and sanitation, urged participants to sensitise the community to use hand washing facilities and soap to minimise outbreaks of diseases such as cholera.
After the training, Jackson Chongela, a member of  the VHT, said that he  was equipped enough to rally households in Kyangwali for Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaigns and to maintain good hygiene and sanitation.
After the training, participants took the ODF campaign to Nyamisana, Rwenyawawa, and Kentomi villages, where locals had been mobilised for sensitisation.

World Humanitarian Summit: Istanbul 23rd May 2016 SPECIAL SESSION on GLOBAL HEALTH

Dr. Caroline Kisia, Executive Director, Action Africa Help International.


Securing the health and well-being of crisis-affected communities is one of the primary goals of humanitarian action. United Nations’ surveys reveal that health is consistently among the top three priorities for crisis-affected communities[1].Action Africa Help International welcomes the commitment under Outcome 2 to stronger national and community capacities to prepare for and handle health crises.


Lessons learned from the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa underline the need for local capacity to identify, understand and manage health emergencies to ensure a rapid response and save lives. Poor understanding of, and lack of support for strengthening, existing local capacity meant failures on the ground to identify and contain the epidemic in a timely manner. This capacity goes beyond the formal business concepts of capacity in the way  it has come to be understood in the humanitarian sectors and extends to subtler concepts such as an understanding of local socio-cultural values and practices, community sensitivities, pre-existing relationships with communities and institutions,


While flying in large numbers of global health experts helped contain the epidemic, some of the steep learning curves were unnecessary, and it did little to strengthen local healthcare systems or build preparedness for future health crises. In fact, pressure put on NGOs with no expertise in health and logistics to manage Ebola emergency treatment, by major donors, only worsened the situation.


Local health staff and community health workers are among the heroes of humanitarian action. These heroes must be given access to the training, resources and support they require to carry out their work safely and effectively. This is increasingly important in light of the growing scale of humanitarian risks and needs. Governments and the international community have pressing responsibilities to build local capacity to manage risks and respond to emergencies at local and national levels.



Responses to health needs in humanitarian crises and other health emergencies face similar challenges. The health sector suffers disproportionately in conflict situations compared to other areas of life-saving humanitarian action. Health status can deteriorate over protracted periods of conflict due to disruptions in health services and routine health programmes. Damaged or destroyed health infrastructure requires significant investment to rebuild, and it can take years to replace a skilled health workforce who have been injured, killed, or whom have fled.



The very right to health and sanctity of health care are under serious threat, particularly in today’s humanitarian contexts. Long-term presence and combined adapted developmental and humanitarian approaches are therefore needed.


We welcome the commitment to flexible and equitable multi-year resourcing for securing health in crises as proposed, which is needed to deliver Outcome 2. It is equally important that sufficient funds and support reach local organizations in order to more fully utilize their capacities. Longer-term funding in particular should be used to enable development of local healthcare systems. This kind of funding should also be availed for humanitarian institutions to provide support for research, training and operations linked to health in humanitarian action.


The Sustainable Development Goals will not be met unless we tackle the challenges of protecting health and delivering health assistance during protracted conflict.



Securing health also requires contributions from all sectors, not just health as well as inclusion of all actors including NGOs, faith-based/religious organisations, governments and the private sector. Success will be achieved through collective, intersectoral, humanitarian action.


[1]One of the most comprehensive needs assessments conducted in Syria in 2013, found that “key informants consistently ranked health needs as the first priority, followed by food security and WASH needs”

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.