JUBA, South Sudan, August 1, 2018/ — Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, a global advocate for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, rights and wellbeing visited World Vision’s nutrition program at Gurei primary health care center (PHCC) in Juba, South Sudan, today.
During the visit, Princess Sarah recognized the important role of women as the cornerstone of health and wellbeing and emphasized that if a mother is supported to have healthy pregnancy, safe delivery and good level of nutrition, “she will have the ability to give her child a future”.
The princess says, “Not only women are the heart of health and well being today but also for tomorrow and the future generation.” She also acknowledged that women have the heart of a lion and will protect their children so they can go to school and have good health.
World Vision’s nutrition program in Juba serves over 3,400 women and children daily with services that include community mobilization, outpatient therapeutic programme, targeted supplementary feeding programme, and referral of severe acute malnutrition with medical complication to inpatient therapeutic programme.
Activities are done through well-trained nutrition staff and community structures, such as mother-to-mother support groups.
The World Food Programme (WFP) provides nutrition supplies for the moderate acute malnutrition cases as well as budget funding in running the 11 nutrition centers in Juba, while UNICEF provides supplies and additional funding for management of severe acute malnutrition cases.
WFP’s Nutrition Manager Hussein Hassan described the World Vision’s nutrition center in Gurei as a “model facility” that provides services for the nutrition and health needs of mothers and children in Juba.
Princess Sarah expressed relief that the mothers have access to quality health care in the center. She adds, “It is encouraging to hear that the women observe proper spacing in having children as it is important for the child’s as well as the mother’s health.”
A founder of Every Woman Every Child (Everywhere), a movement that pushes to integrate humanitarian and fragile setting in the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, Princess Sarah further said it is important for women to have the right information as mothers on how to raise their children, the value of breastfeeding and where to go for assistance if they cannot breastfeed.
She adds, “Everybody needs the right information, the right food to feed the children, what services are available and to best provide for the family.”
She raised the issue of the destruction of health facilities in Maban she visited last year and expressed concern that many will be deprived of the services because of the incident.
She talked to the members of the women’s group and discussed traditional practices that put their lives in danger during delivery of their children. World Vision’s Nutrition Manager Damaris Wanjiku explained that, through different activities, the mothers are gradually realizing the need to go to hospitals instead of giving birth at home to ensure the safety of their children as well as their own.
Princess Sarah upheld the need for the safety and protection of the humanitarian workers, saying, “Humanitarians are here to serve and support the needs of the population, and that needs to be respected and their security needs to be guaranteed.”
“Princess Sarah Zeid’s visit is very timely as UN agencies like WFP, World Vision and the rest of the humanitarian community continues to advocate for the health and welfare of mothers and children in the country”, says World Vision’s Country Programme Director Mesfin Loha.
Loha adds, “Millions of lives are affected by hunger and malnutrition caused primarily by the conflict. We need more voices like hers to raise the urgent needs of the children in South Sudan.”
Princess Sarah works with the Women’s Refugee Commission as member of the Board of Directors, as well as the Advisory Board for Women’s Rights, the UNHCR’s Advisory Group on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection.
She is also a member of John Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health Advisory Committee.She is married to Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, the current Commissioner for United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights.