Sudan records significantly high infant, child and maternal mortality rates, yet many of the causes of such mortality are preventable. UNICEF is working to tackle the underlying causes of disease outbreaks, while strengthening capacity of local health structures.
By the year 2012, UNICEF will have helped reduce infant, child and maternal mortality, achieving key results that include:
Key strategies to achieve these results include:
UNICEF supports increased immunization coverage for children and pregnant women against diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria and tetanus. This also includes ensuring that the necessary infrastructure for effective routine immunization is put in place, for example through the installation of vaccine storage facilities and the training of vaccinators.
Accelerated Child Survival and maternal health care
Prevention of childhood diseases, including diarrhoea, malaria, measles and acute respiratory infections, is being approached through improved quality of health care and the development of integrated health and nutrition activities through the Sudan Accelerated Child Survival Initiative. The Initiative brings together a package of key health activities, including immunization, vitamin A supplementation, provision of deworming tablets, promotion of breastfeeding, use of iodised salt, health education and hand washing, distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, and nutritional screening and growth monitoring, all of which are known to have a significant impact on reducing mortality rates.
The provision of these key services is complemented by support to building capacity amongst community-based health workers and the introduction of new programmatic approaches such as new-born care, and the expansion of comprehensive emergency obstetric and neo-natal care. This latter area includes provision of equipment and training of health workers, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and the development of centres of excellence for maternal health.
Policy, systems and capacity development
Ensuring that achievements are sustainable requires investment at all levels of the health sector in Sudan. UNICEF is supporting the finalisation of health policies and assisting with the development of technical guidelines and treatment policies on issues such as malaria, safe motherhood, HIV and AIDS, disease surveillance and Health Management Information Systems.