You are here

WPDI’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Educational Program Reaches Thousands in South Sudan

November 2018 – The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), in collaboration with UNESCO, began conducting an educational program concerning sexual and reproductive health at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba, South Sudan, in July. The program has been widely successful: within its five-month lifespan, it will have reached about 11,000 people within the camp.

This initiative is part of our efforts to bring peace and sustainable development to South Sudan. Without question, access to quality healthcare services is a prevalent issue there; the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that some 4,4 million people are in need of health assistance. This is, in large part, a byproduct of a longstanding civil war in South Sudan, which began in December 2013 and only ended a few weeks ago. Within those almost five years, over two million people were displaced, including 1,6 million internally displaced persons.

One of South Sudan’s most pressing healthcare-related issues concerns HIV/AIDS. In 2016, UNAIDS reported that the country had 16,000 new HIV infections and 13,000 AIDS-related deaths. A further 200,000 people live with HIV in the country, including some 20,000 pregnant women and 2,400 newly-infected children due to mother-to-child transmission.

WPDI’s partnership with UNESCO sought to address in part this problem. As a result of educating close to 11,000 people at the PoC camp about HIV/AIDS, more than 2,000 inhabitants have voluntarily visited a camp facility to be tested or receive counseling. Forty people have been found to be HIV-positive and are currently undergoing treatment. Additionally, WPDI staff has trained 50 peer educators that will continue to bring about awareness concerning HIV/AIDS through sessions held during our monthly peace engagement days, which include sporting activities, training sessions, community dialogues, dramas, songs, and poster making sessions.

By conducting this integrated approach, WPDI is bringing about greater awareness about HIV/AIDS in the PoC. Through so doing, we hope to help address a critical healthcare issue in South Sudan.