The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) is a World Health Organization program with the goal to make vaccines available to all children. Because the current South Sudanese Government and IMA World Health have limited capacity (e.g., health workers have not been paid in over eight months) to support staff health education, the Buckeye Clinic paid for three days of vaccinator staff training at the Patiou PHCU in February, 2017, followed by a two day Traditional Birthing Aide (TBA) education program on obstetrical and gynecologic conditions. Participants, who also included Community Health workers (CHW), thanked the Buckeye Health Clinic for supporting this educational opportunity for themselves and for the people of the Piol community.
The eight participants in the trainings included the following: Samuel Kuol Ayuen, Team Leader; Deng Dhuor Ageer, Vaccinator; Atem Ayii Ngor,Vaccinator; Joseph Magok Anyieth, Vaccinator; Ariop Kuol Deng, Community Mobilizer; Akoi David Ayuen, CHW; Chol Akuei, CHW; and Roda Ajah Arok, TBA.
The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Training included training on all types of vaccine used in South Sudan. For children up to years old, this includes whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, diphtheria and measles. Because Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) is often seen among South Sudanese young children and pregnant and lactating women the supplemental use of Vitamin A was also taught. For pregnant women and women of child bearing age, tetanus toxoid immunization was covered. The EPI training also included program management, outreach, cold-chain system management and community health education on the importance of vaccination for children and pregnant women.
Traditional Birthing Aide (TBA) Training included normal pregnancy and labor, normal deliveries, complications in stages of labor and referral for complicated pregnancy or labor. There was also a focus on health disorders during pregnancy, such as Malaria, Anemia, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, HIV/AIDS, and malnutrition in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The trainings were conducted by James Magok Mabei, Clinical Officer and South Jongelei State Health Commissioner, and Atem John Kuer, EPI Team Leader.
The trainees appreciated the lectures, educational materials and the discussion group format of the trainings. The accompanying photos sent by James Magok Mabei portray the training opportunity well. Trainees also let us know of the challenges that the lack of salaries has on them and their families.
Dale Svendsen, MD
Chair, Medical Advisory Committee
Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan