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Midwives Want To Reduce Maternal Mortality In South Sudan

South Sudan has added more than 800 midwives and nurses since 2010.

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Midwives, SUDAN
A woman holding her baby in a nursery watches another newborn who is attached to a ventilator at Juba Teaching Hospital in Juba, April 3, 2013. South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. VOA

More than 60 people graduated in Juba this week with diplomas in midwifery and nursing. Their goal? To reduce South Sudan’s high rate of maternal mortality.

Eight men were among the 66 graduates of the Kajo Keji Health Science Institute — an unusual occurrence in South Sudan, where midwifery is associated almost exclusively with women.

Samuel Ladu Morish, 26, says he felt he could no longer sit by and watch young women die because of childbirth.

chikungunya, maternal mortality
A woman sits inside a mosquito tent in the town of Abyei, Sudan. VOA

“A lot of mothers are dying so [for] me particularly it pains me. That is why I felt I have to do that course, to try my level best to stop maternal mortality rate in South Sudan,” Morish told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Twenty-one-year-old Leju Henry, another male graduate, said he’s been asked many times why he decided to pursue a course in midwifery. Like Morish, Henry said he wants to help South Sudanese women, especially those who suffer complications in child labor.

“Most people think midwifery is a job for females only, but that is not the truth. … the definition of midwifery [is] that a midwife simply means someone who assists in child above all, but not necessarily means a fellow woman,” Henry said.

According to figures published by the World Health Organization in 2017, South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world — 789 women per 100,000 live births.

south sudan's war, chikungunya, maternal mortality
In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, the winner of Miss World South Sudan 2017, Arual Longar, poses for a portrait at a shelter for street children in Juba, South Sudan. VOA

The rate has actually fallen in recent years, a trend that Makur Koriom, the undersecretary of South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, attributes to increased training of midwives and nurses.

Also Read: Sudan Suffers From A Chikungunya Outbreak

He says South Sudan has added more than 800 midwives and nurses since 2010.

“We believe that’s important, because to address the current health challenges, investing in human resource is very important. But, of course, investment at [the] secondary level without concurrent development at the community level also will not yield [good results], because most of the issues happen at the community level,” Koriom told VOA. (VOA)

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Too Much Coffee During Pregnancy Bad for Baby’s Liver, Says New Study

For the study, the researchers investigated the effects of low (equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee) and high doses (equivalent to 6-9 cups of coffee) of caffeine given to pregnant rats, on liver function and hormone levels of their offspring

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coffee
A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena, Calif., July 25, 2013. VOA

Ladies, limit your tea or coffee intake if you’re expecting, as researchers have found that excess caffeine intake during pregnancy may impair baby’s liver development and increase the risk of liver disease in adulthood.

In a study on rats, it was found that pregnant rats, which were given caffeine, had offspring with lower birth weight, altered growth and stress hormone levels and impaired liver development.

Published in the Journal of Endocrinology, the study indicates that consuming 2-3 cups of coffee a day may alter stress and growth hormone levels in a manner that can impair development of baby’s liver.

“Our results indicate that prenatal caffeine causes an excess of stress hormone activity in the mother, which inhibits IGF-1 activity for liver development before birth. However, compensatory mechanisms do occur after birth to accelerate growth and restore normal liver function as IGF-1 activity increases and stress hormone signalling decreases,” said study co-author Yinxian Wen from the Wuhan University in China.

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that plays an important role in childhood growth. “The increased risk of fatty liver disease, caused by prenatal caffeine exposure, is most likely a consequence of this enhanced, compensatory postnatal IGF-1 activity,” Wen said.

Technology, Privacy
A model wears the Owlet Band pregnancy monitor at the Owlet booth at CES International, Jan. 9, 2019, in Las Vegas. The device can track fetal heart rate, kicks and contractions. VOA

For the study, the researchers investigated the effects of low (equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee) and high doses (equivalent to 6-9 cups of coffee) of caffeine given to pregnant rats, on liver function and hormone levels of their offspring.

“Our work suggests that prenatal caffeine is not good for babies and although these findings still need to be confirmed in people, I would recommend that women avoid caffeine during pregnancy,” Wen said.

Also Read: Qualcomm, Sony Ramp up 5G Testing in UK with New Lab

Sweta Gupta, Clinical Director and Senior Consultant at Fertility Solutions, Medicover Fertility in Delhi, agreed that too much of caffeine could be harmful for the baby. “Pregnancy is a time of craving and mood swings. Some consider coffee for relief in such situations,” she said.

However, according to Harshal Rajekar, Consultant Gastro Surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital in Pune, there is hardly any evidence showing that caffeine is harmful for pregnant woman or her baby’s liver though it’s true that excess of caffeine can affect sleep and may deprive the mother of adequate rest during pregnancy, which can, in turn, harm both the mother and the child. (IANS)