This blog first appeared on the Health Pooled Fund – South Sudan website
Women’s socio-economic well-being and human rights in South Sudan are integral to the Health Pooled Fund (HPF) programme. We celebrate some success while we continue to push for gender equality in the health sector. It is less uncommon to find women at the frontline providing health services at facilities in their communities. However, their work is not without obstacles. On this International Women’s Day – 8th March 2023, and for the rest of March, HPF is celebrating all women and sharing some of the health workers’ inspiring stories.
Poni Susan is a Clinical Officer who has been supported by the South Sudan Health Association (SSUHA) at Litoba PHCU in Kajo Keji since April 2021. She is one of several women working tirelessly under the HPF project in the South Sudan healthcare system, amidst political and social challenges.
She dreamed of becoming a nurse during her childhood, but when her elder sister dropped out of school, her father was so disappointed that he refused to pay for her school fees at the secondary level.
Her brother intervened and paid for a while – but he lost his job, and she could not continue her studies. She started looking for work in Juba City and set up a laundry business to raise money. Later, she got a job as a cleaner for a company and increased her savings. Her interest, hard work, and determination made her achieve her vision.
After saving enough money for her school fees, Poni joined the Juba School of Health Sciences and pursued a course to become a medical Clinical Officer. She is a respected health worker now. Through her effort, her community has built an antenatal care room to provide adequate privacy to clients who will come for antenatal and family planning services.
She pointed out that she enjoys her work because the facility has enough medical supplies and equipment for her to provide quality health care to patients. ‘I also get timely incentives,’ Poni said with a smile.
I live a happy life with enough food at home, my child is in a good school, and I am my father’s most-loved daughter because I support him financially.
Incentives from the programme have transformed most women’s lives. Rudisha Jane, a midwife at Yei County Hospital, credits HPF for her own good health.
She stated that she weighed only 36 kg before working at the hospital but currently weighs 60 kg because of good feeding.
A hospital Matron at the same facility, Joy Jamba, said:
Because of the money I receive through HPF support and implementing partner – SSUHA, I have bought a plot of land and built a structure. Therefore, I thank our government, the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), the Canadian Government, the government of Sweden, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the European Union (EU), and HPF South Sudan for their comprehensive support to the health sector.
For more information on the Health Pooled Fund, please visit the Programme’s website: https://hpfsouthsudan.org/