SOSUCCA - South Sudan Community Change Agency

Enhancing HIV Prevention, Treatment Linkage and Retention Services for Vulnerable Indigenous Youth and Women in Mundri County, South Sudan

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Credit: SOSUCCA

USD 20.000 grant 
to enhance access to high-quality HIV prevention, 
care and treatment services 
for vulnerable Indigenous youth and women, 
contributing to the improved health and well-being 
of the Indigenous population of Mundri.

On this page you can learn about the community served by this project and the particular challenges they face. We also offer insights into SOSUCCA, the Indigenous-led organization we proudly support, and a thorough account of the project they are undertaking. We invite you to delve further, consider becoming an ally, and discover ways to offer direct support to SOSUCCA, detailed below.


The Community

The Moru-Kodo people are one of the sixty-four ethnic groups in South Sudan, with an estimated population of about 40,000. They are primarily located in three counties in the Western Equatorial State of South Sudan. The Moru-Kodo people speak the Moru-Kodo language, which belongs to the Nilo- Saharan language family.

They are primarily a sedentary agrarian community, relying on various activities for their livelihoods, such as farming, fishing, beekeeping, hunting, and the small-scale raising of goats and sheep, among others. The Moru-Kodo community is organized into agnatic lineages, consisting of clans and families. They have strong social norms that help bind their community together.

Image Credit: SOSUCCA

The Moru-Kodo area has faced significant challenges due to the long-running civil conflict in Sudan. The 21-year civil war between the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement was a pivotal period in their history.

The Moru-Kodo areas served as the frontlines during the fighting, resulting in limited access to education, poor physical infrastructure, low economic activity, inadequate sources of clean water, and a lack of proper health facilities. These factors contributed to underdevelopment in the Moru-Kodo areas.

Furthermore, the conflict that erupted in 2013 and 2016 between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/In-Opposition and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement-In-Government also had a detrimental impact on the Moru-Kodo people.

Many lives were lost, and physical infrastructure, such as schools and health facilities, was destroyed. Additionally, properties were lost, and women experienced sexual violence and torture. Economic activities were severely affected, leaving the community vulnerable to health problems and poverty. The rate of illiteracy remained high in these conflict-affected areas.

...

South Sudan at a Crossroads | Human Rights Watch

Ten years ago, on July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained its long-fought independence from Sudan. Since then, the new country descended into a bloody seven-year civil war, and while a peace deal was inked by warring parties in 2018, fighting between communities, as well as government human rights abuses, rage on.

The Problem

Over the years, South Sudan's response to HIV has been hampered by persistent conflicts, population displacements, and disruptions to essential services, which have left Indigenous communities more vulnerable to HIV.

UNAIDS categorizes South Sudan's HIV epidemic as low and generalized, with varying prevalence rates across regions. In areas like Western Equatoria, where Mundri is situated, HIV prevalence is 6.8%. However, a significant portion of the estimated 200,000 individuals living with HIV remains unaware of their status, with only 18% receiving antiretroviral therapy. Furthermore, treatment primarily reaches women, leaving men and children underserved.
 

There is an urgent need to expand access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services to Indigenous populations, ensuring early identification of people living with HIV, promoting treatment initiation while asymptomatic, and improving retention on treatment to achieve viral suppression.

Additionally, innovative approaches are required to enhance HIV testing among men and children, reducing the risk of mortality.


The Partner

SOSUCCA - South Sudan Community Change Agency

SOSUCCA, an Indigenous Moru-Kodo South Sudan-based organization, initially founded as a student organization called WEUSA in 2009, has evolved into a dynamic force for youth-driven community development.

Image Credit: SOSUCCA

With a focus on addressing pressing issues like HIV/AIDS, sexual and gender-based violence, unemployment, conflict, and poverty, SOSUCCA has successfully implemented over a dozen projects in collaboration with numerous partner organizations.

Image Credit: SOSUCCA

Their areas of impact encompass HIV/AIDS, youth sexual and reproductive health, civic education, peacebuilding, hygiene and sanitation, human rights (including child protection and gender-based violence prevention), food security, and women's empowerment.

SOSUCCA's Executive Director Festo Bali Christopher, discusses HIV prevention during a radio broadcast at City FM. Image Credit: SOSUCCA

The Project 

Enhancing HIV Prevention, Treatment Linkage and Retention Services for Vulnerable Indigenous Youth and Women in Mundri County, South Sudan

Through this project, SOSUCCA will conduct data-driven HIV testing, focusing on at-risk populations like female sex workers, truck drivers, adolescents, and young women engaged in transactional sex, as well as partners of people living with HIV.

Partner notification services will also be used to reach the contacts of people who have tested positive for HIV.

Referral Systems: The project will establish and maintain a system for referring individuals from the community to healthcare facilities and vice versa, ensuring comprehensive service packages are provided.

Community ART Refill Groups: Community-based groups will be created to facilitate the refilling of antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications, reducing the need for frequent facility visits and providing support for adherence to treatment.

Monitoring and Reporting: Weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports will be generated to track key results and trends. In order to improve ART retention and reduce interruptions in treatment, systems for tracking client appointments will be strengthened, and reminders will be sent via telephone calls and SMS to help clients stay engaged with their treatment.

Image Credit: SOSUCCA

Peer Support: Differentiated support groups will be established for various categories of ART patients, such as adolescents, men, and nursing mothers, providing tailored treatment literacy and care.

Interruption Tracing: A dedicated tracer will be hired to manage appointments, follow up on missed appointments, and facilitate referrals for ART refills.

To improve PMTCT retention and EID/pediatric care, a Mentor-Mother Platform will be created: Indigenous Mentor Mothers will be trained to support the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). They will assist PMTCT patients, address stigma and misconceptions, and ensure that mothers and their babies receive appropriate care.

Partner Testing and Mentor Fathers: Expectant mothers will be offered partner testing services. Men willing to support other men in PMTCT services will be trained as Mentor Fathers to engage male partners in the care of newborns. The project will enhance access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services while focusing on improving retention across the HIV care cascade.

Image Credit: SOSUCCA

With this project, SOSSUCA aims to achieve the following goals:

1. Increase the HIV status awareness of at-risk Indigenous youth, adolescent girls, young women, and pregnant or breastfeeding women in the project area to 95% by the end of the project. 

2. Achieve a 95% enrollment and retention rate for all newly diagnosed People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Mundri County by the project's end.

3. Ensure that 95% of PLHIV receiving HIV treatment in the four supported facilities achieve viral suppression within six months of enrollment.

Image Credit: SOSUCCA


Azimuth World Foundation is a proud supporter of SOSUCCA. If you wish to become a direct supporter of their crucial grassroots work in South Sudan, please reach out to SOSUCCA via e-mail or Whatsapp. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

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WhatsApp: +211917244814

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