Maternal and neonatal health care service utilisation in the wake of active conflict and socio-economic downturn in Torit County, Republic of South Sudan: a multimethod locally driven study

Pontius Bayo, Loubna Belaid, Emmanuel Ochola, Elijo O. Tahir, Alexander Dimiti, Donato Greco, Christina Zarowsky


Recurrent conflicts and economic downturn hamper access to health care. We examined how renewed conflict in July 2016 in Torit County, South Sudan affected health facility utilization for pregnancy care. We analyzed key quantitative indicators before and since renewed conflict through monthly facility data covering January 2015 to December 2016 on Antenatal Care (ANC) visits, facility-based births, and major obstetric complications. A qualitative descriptive study explored perceptions on access through key informant interviews and focused group discussions. ANC visits declined by 21%; health facility births declined from 23.6% to 16.7% while the proportion of all obstetric complications treated declined from 58.9% to 43.9%. Lack of human resources, inadequate medicines supply, perceived poor quality of care and economic hardships were the main factors affecting access to care. Our multidisciplinary and multistakeholder approach and leadership by South Sudanese team members enhanced research quality and its potential impact on practice and policy. (Afr J Reprod Health 2021; 25[3s]: 30-42).

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