News and Reports from Southern Sudan - November 2009
Southern Sudan Loses a Good Friend
Dr Christopher Wood (OBE), a former Director-General of AMREF died in August at the age of 85. Chris will be particularly missed by the health community in Southern Sudan. His first visit was in the early 1970s when he was a health advisor to Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement. He helped to develop of the first Health Policy of Southern Sudan following the initial peace agreement in 2003. This paved the way for AMREF’s current engagement with the Government, including support for the development of the country’s policy on human resources for health. Chris was also involved in setting up the Maridi Training Institute.
After his retirement in 1989, Chris continued to consult for AMREF and was involved with AMREF’s training programmes, especially those in Southern Sudan. Last year he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his work in bringing health care to marginalised African communities.
Chris Wood lasting legacy to the Africa he loved is that the training of health workers and the development of primary health care are now firmly established across the continent.
Tuberculosis Information on Southern Sudan from USAID is at:
http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/id/tuberculosis/countries/africa/ssudan_profile.html and general information about tuberculosis is at
To listen to an interview with a clinical officer in Southern Sudan
WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement on home-based care of newborns
Every year, around 3.7 million babies die during their first four weeks of life. Most of these newborns are born in developing countries and most die at home. Up to two-thirds of these deaths can be prevented if mothers and newborns receive known, effective interventions.
Studies have shown that interventions delivered to newborn babies in their homes can prevent 30–60% of deaths in high mortality settings under controlled conditions. On the strength of this evidence, WHO and UNICEF now recommend a series of home visits in the baby’s first week of life to improve newborn survival.
A WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement on Home visits for the newborn child: a strategy to improve survival recommends that home visits occur on days one and three of a newborn's life, and if possible, a third visit should take place before the end of the first week of life. During home visits, skilled health workers should perform the following measures:
- Promote and support early (within the first hour after birth) and exclusive breastfeeding
- Help to keep the newborn warm (promoting skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant)
- Promote hygienic umbilical cord and skin care
- Assess the baby for signs of serious health problems, and advise families to seek prompt medical care if necessary (danger signs include feeding problems, or if the newborn has reduced activity, difficult breathing, a fever, fits or convulsions, or feels cold)
- Encourage birth registration and timely vaccination according to national schedules
- Identify and support newborns that need additional care (e.g. those that are low-birth-weight, sick or have an HIV-infected mother).
For more details see http://www.who.int/child_adolescent_health/news/archive/2009/09_07_08/en /
Extract from CAH newsletter - Reaching Out, Issue 13 Aug09
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‘Work with your heart’
was the theme of World Heart Day on 27 September 2009. Among the materials available is a leaflet
that provides tips on how people can improve their heart health. To download go
Extracts from the leaflet ‘Work with your heart’
How you can take steps towards a healthier workplace:
- Be physically active during your day. Create, or participate in an existing sport or fitness group and tell your colleagues about it.
- Walk around your building or exercise during your lunch break. Include physical activity in your working schedule and encourage others to do so too.
- Provide your colleagues with information about the benefits that they can gain from being physically active on a regular basis.
- Insist on a smoke-free environment.
Tips for devising your own personal workplace programme:
- Healthy food intake – Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Get active and take heart – Even 30 minutes of activity can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes and your work will benefit too. Take the stairs, go for a walk during your break, or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Use less salt and avoid processed foods – Try to limit your salt intake to about a teaspoon per day. Be wary of processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt.
- Say no to tobacco – Your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time.
- Maintain a healthy weight –Weight loss, especially together with lowered salt intake, leads to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke.