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Construction begins after successful Capital Appeal

On 1 July Save the Children started an appeal calling for donations of just £5 — the cost of one brick — to build three new health clinics in South Sudan.

The response was phenomenal.

The British public raised even more than the £210,000 we were aiming for.

Capital Appeal Mailer sent to individual donors

Most clinics in South Sudan are built out of mud because nothing else is available. So they’re too dirty to stop the spread of infection and too small to treat all the patients in need. And all that mud means just one heavy rainfall can wash them away.

Our planned new clinics (known as Primary Health Care Units – PHCU) will be permanent, hygienic and will help save children and their mothers.

Despite the challenges of the rainy season, preparations began in August with the hiring of Construction Manager James Wani, and construction started in Kapoeta North county at the end of September in Lomeyien.

Construction manager James Wani: "The construction here is a bit difficult because all the material, like cement and iron sheeting, are all imported, even the bricks are not available locally so we have to lay them ourselves. Despite this, I am happy that the workers are making good progress".
Current Lomeyien PHCU. After the original structure fell apart, the community adopted this abandoned building as their Health Care Unit. The Capital Appeal project seeks to reconstruct the Lomeyien PHCU in the same fashion as the Nakwa PHCU.
Current Lomeyien PHCU. After the original structure was destroyed in a storm, the community adopted this abandoned building as their Health Care Unit.

Originally built by the community a few years ago, the existing Lomeyien clinic was a simple mud and thatch tukul, unfortunately destroyed during a forceful storm.

Later, the community adopted an abandoned Land O’ Lakes yogurt stand. The two-room metal container has been serving as the local health facility for over one year now. There is no space for check ups, antenatal care, deliveries or privacy.

“The old health facility is okay. We make do. But the community deserves better,” says Preventative Care Clinical Officer Abudengo Lokiru.

Bricks are made from scratch for the new Lomeyien Primary Health Care Unit (PHCU) in Kapoeta North County, Eastern Equatoria state, South Sudan.
Bricks are made from scratch for the new Lomeyien Primary Health Care Unit.

Deputy Executive Director for Kapoeta North County, Tito Abbas Lomoro, says,“We had a rally with the community about the new PHCU, plus the payam (district) chiefs. They are really behind it, and they are relieved.

“People used to be taken to Kapoeta, and some would die on the road. Now they are enjoying at home. Women are delivering well, malnourished children are now in the nutrition centre, and we have CBDs on the ground who are very active.”

Moya Evaristo Cheche, 34, is a Community Based Distributor (CBD) for Save the Children in Loriwo Village, Lomeyien Payam. About the new Lomeyien PHCU.

Mother Moya Evaristo Cheche shares, “The new centre is going to be good. Mothers are already seeking assistance from Regina, our Traditional Birth Attendant.

“So when the Lomeyien clinic is opened, pregnant mothers will surely make use of the new facility. Slowly by slowly, we will have a good number of deliveries at the clinic. Our hope is that let this facility be finished so fast, so that people can migrate there.”

The Lomeyien Primary Health Care Unit is one of many facilities, and programmes, that Save the Children supports in this community.

Making a healthy difference

Save the Children has been working in Kapoeta North County since 2008, and currently supports one Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) and seven Primary Health Care Units.

The Riwoto PHCC sits in the centre of the county, sharing land with the main primary school, and offers specialized staff, antenatal services, inpatient care, laboratory facilities, immunizations, and inpatient nutrition stabilisation.

The PHCUs provide free consultations and basic medicines to communities further away from the town centre, who would not otherwise have access to proper health care.

Simple interventions

This simple intervention is instrumental in addressing the problem of preventable deaths in young children caused by easily treated ailments such as diarrhoea, malaria, and respiratory infections.

With pneumonia, malaria and malnutrition so common, the clinics are crucial to the survival of children under 5 in this community. Cases that are more complex, such as difficult deliveries or severe malaria, are referred from the local PHCU to the Riwoto PHCC.

Inpatient suffering from malaria in the Save the Children Riwoto PHCC Inpatient Ward, Riwoto PHCC. Kapoeta North County, East Equatoria State, South Sudan.
Child suffering from malaria in the Save the Children Riwoto PHCC Inpatient Ward.

Tito thanks Save the Children for all the improvements he has seen in Kapoeta North, “The presence of Save the Children in this county really saved us. Clearly there has been a lot of progress since Save the Children came. You have improved the health facilities.

“We used to have only one PHCU, which has been upgraded to a PHCC. We have been able to deliver services in 7 PHCUs, plus the PHCC.

Ready in the new year

“We really appreciate it a lot. We share with Save the Children in the community; whatever happiness or sorrow, we are together. We are very happy for all that has been done.”

The construction of the new Lomeyien PHCU will be completed in December-January. Watch this space for updates on the PHCU progress, and photos and testimonies from the Kapoeta North community. News on construction in Mvolo and Rumbek counties will also be posted in the next few months.

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