Yei County Commissioner Juma David donating food and non- food items to mothers at Yei Civil Hospital during Martyrs day celebrations in 2012. [Gurtong| File]
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
TORIT, 02 September 2012 [Gurtong] – Marie Stopes International-South Sudan, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) offering health services is urging South Sudanese couples to be proactive and promote birth spacing to help reduce infant deaths.
Oyat John, a clinical officer at Marie Stopes International-South Sudan says that couples should uphold two to three year interval of birth spacing, a move that ensures the mother has fully recovered from previous birth.
Child spacing ensures that there is less chance of complications during pregnancy.
The organisation is currently conducting fieldwork in Eastern Equatoria State and training couples about the importance of birth spacing.
Marie Stopes International-South Sudan Marketing and Communication Manager for Behaviour Change Richard Ruate emphasized that women should take two to three years between pregnancies for the children to grow healthy adding that South Sudan would be healthier if all parents accepted idea of child spacing.
He believes that child spacing provides mothers adequate time to nurture their babies and be able to cater for domestic needs.
Oyat noted that child spacing is an integral part of planning one’s pregnancy and family in general as it helps mothers recover from physical strength after undergoing the physical strains of carrying a child for nine months and going through the rigorous process of labour and delivery.
Recognizing the need to have stable income to sustain everyday living, the NGO believes that family planning is important for couples as they start out a family as it involves agreement between husband and wife about how many children they want to have and when they want to have them.
According to Oyat, children that are spaced too close to each other will likely result to a financial burden for the family as parents struggle to raise many children at the same time.
Oyat cites some of the benefits of birth spacing as improved child’s health, optimum nutrition and development and lesser chances of unwanted pregnancies.
Medical officials contacted by Gurtong have advised that the birth spacing would benefit mothers as it permits them to recover not just physically but also emotionally unlike those who give birth in less than two years or a year.
Mothers usually undergo postpartum stress following the new responsibilities of caring for the baby, breastfeeding and other physical fatigue from labour and delivery.
Family planning has been identified as the key method of reducing maternal death, speeding up economic development and improving the overall status of women and children.
South Sudan has a high number of women who would like to use family planning methods but are unable to do so because of misconceptions.