Completion of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Project under the Chinese South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund
Remarks by Mandeep O’Brien, UNICEF Sudan Representative
Your Excellency, Dr. Haitham Mohamed Ibrahim, the acting Federal Minister of Health
Your Excellency, Mr. Ma Xinmin, the Ambassador of China in Khartoum
Dear colleagues, partners and friends from the Ministry of Health, Embassy of China, and UNICEF Sudan
With huge appreciation to China, we celebrate today the successful completion of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Project under the Chinese South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund.
My sincere appreciation as well to the Ministry of Health for their steadfast work and partnership to preserve and strengthen the capacity of frontline workers – as doctors, nurses and midwives – in order to sustain the delivery of essential healthcare lifesaving services throughout the country.
Over the last three days we have had a successful mission with Ted Chaiban, (UN Assistant Secretary General, and Global Lead Coordinator for COVID Vaccine Delivery), who visited Sudan to explore how in partnership we can accelerate Sudan’s COVID-19 response while contributing to primary health care – to safe lives and protect those most vulnerable. The Ministry of Health again showed clear commitment and determination to steer this in partnership with UNICEF, WHO and other key partners.
Sudan’s health system is faced with many challenges,. We need to continue investing in strengthening of systems and capacity building of staff to make sure every woman and child are able to receive the information and services they require for a safe child-birth, and healthy childhood.
Sudan is among those countries that have had progress in reducing under-five child mortality, but neonatal mortality is currently estimated to be a worrying 29 per 1,000 live births, accounting for half of child deaths in the country. Sadly over 90 per cent of these newborn deaths are due to preventable causes.
The generous support of the Government and People of China, has precisely allowed us an opportunity to prevent such newborn deaths that will have a lasting impact. UNICEF Sudan in partnership with the Ministry of Health has been able to train over one hundred community midwives who now support their communities for a lasting impact and improve access to early essential and emergency newborn care services for 59,400 mothers and their newborn children in West Darfur and Khartoum states.
This achievement makes us incredibly proud but much more remains to be done in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals to make sure no child in Sudan is left behind.
Humanitarian organizations estimate that 14.3 million people across Sudan will need humanitarian assistance in 2022, of which 7.8 million are children.
Lack of investment in health system strengthening puts at risk the lives of over 8 million children under five who will not be able to access essential services.
For example, 3 million children under-five years of age suffer from acute malnutrition. Of these 3 million children, approximately 650,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). It is estimated that without treatment about half of all children suffering from SAM will not survive.
These are alarming figures which we cannot allow to increase any further.
Now more than ever, it is critical to continue to strive for every child in order to safeguard a stable, productive, prosperous and peaceful future for Sudan.
We see significant potential for South-South Cooperation in Sudan and would be delighted to continue facilitating exchange of cutting-edge knowledge, training, technology and resources to achieve the best possible results for children.
I would like to extend once again my heartfelt appreciation to the Government and the Ambassador of China for this generous support and look forward to continuing our partnership for the children in Sudan.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child and is committed to the children of Sudan. We never give up on finding solutions that provide immediate help to save the lives of children or provide durable support so that those children grow up with dignity, health and an education.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.