Maternal health a concern as South Sudan crisis deepens

About 3,400 South Sudanese refugees are temporarily accommodated at the Nyumanzi Refugee Transit Point.

FILE: Pigirinya refugee camp along Uganda’s border. Picture: Aurelie Kalenga/EWN

JUBA - Maternal health issues have come into sharp focus as the humanitarian crisis deepens in South Sudan.

At least 800 babies were born at a transit point on Uganda's border in July when fighting broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar.

Three hundred people were killed and hundreds of thousands more forced to flee with Uganda hosting the lion's share of those displaced.

About 3,400 South Sudanese refugees are temporarily accommodated at the Nyumanzi Refugee Transit Point before they are screened, given water, a warm meal and sent to an official camp.

For many this is their first point of entry to their new lives.

Assistant settlement commandant Albert Alumgi says thousands of pregnant women have come through these gates since the resurgence of fighting in South Sudan.

He says a baby is born almost daily, making it difficult to confirm how many people live in the shelters.

"When the influx was very messy, we had about 18,000 here, which has raised a lot of concerns, even commissioners from Geneva came here."

For most refugee mothers, all they want is a peaceful life for their new born babies.