Using Technology to Design Health Solutions
In the four years since independence, the world’s newest country has seen incredible hope and excitement overcome by renewed conflict and uncertainty. Since we began working in South Sudan in 1994, ARC has been witness to these fluxes of peace and instability.
Now, we are helping South Sudanese communities to navigate the waters of this difficult period, expanding our reach and seeking out tools to bring the best possible services to some of the most marginalized people in the world.
Protecting women against violence
One of the most devastating consequences of conflict can be the increase in violence again women. With social structures torn apart and support systems taken away, women are often left vulnerable. We are working to prevent this violence in South Sudan through various community - based interventions, raising awareness through case management and education campaigns.
We are constantly inspired by the women we work with. Women who have been victims of trauma and violence are now some of the strongest advocates of ARC’s projects, their courage and tenacity shine through against the odds. They recognize their ability to change the future for their children, and they provide us with insights on how best to stop the cycle of violence. It is because of them, and all of the women affected by the conflict, that we hope to expand our protection efforts in the years to come.
Leaders in Health
In South Sudan, we are experts at providing consistent, quality, and reliable primary health care services to vulnerable populations. This year, we’ve expanded our focus on primary health to include two hospitals, where we can accept more serious cases. Working side by side with County Health Departments, we make it a priority to train their staff as well as ours, so that eventually local staff will be able to continue to work independently of ARC.
Building capacity of local workers is at the heart of our health programming – we want South Sudanese to learn the skills they need to lead their country into the future. This year, our health program has piloted a new technology-driven initiative, the first of its kind in South Sudan. In the past, health workers would have to hand-deliver reports, often covering long distances over difficult terrain. Called mHealth, this new initiative allows health facility staff to use their personal mobile phones to send weekly infectious disease surveillance and response reports through text message to the County Health Department. The cell phone system provides instant feedback to the health facilities and works to notify health officials in case of an epidemic. This simple yet effective project has revolutionized health reporting for ARC in South Sudan, improving access to patient care and communication across the country.
I am proud to help save people’s lives by making sure our clinics have the medical equipment, supplies and vehicles they need to serve the communities where we work. Logistical work is so important – and it’s not always easy – so when it’s done right it’s something to be proud of.
- Hakim Emmanuel Joseph, ARC South Sudan
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