The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their lives. The IRC operates in more than 40 countries and has been operated in Sudan was present in Sudan from 1981 to 2009. In November 2019 been re-registered in Sudan to respond to immediate needs due to the dire economic conditions, fragile political environment to provide social services post transition empowering post-conflict communities and refugees to recover in safety and build a productive, peaceful, and healthy future.
Each day almost 800 women die due to pregnancy or childbirth complications. Ninety per cent of maternal deaths take place in Africa and Asia; the risk of a woman dying from maternal causes in sub-Saharan Africa is 1 in 39, accounting for 56% of the global maternal deaths. The loss of mother’s shatters families and threatens the well-being of more than one million surviving children every year.
Sudan has more than 10.6 million women of reproductive age (15-49 years). There are 1.2 million births every year, and on average a Sudanese woman gives birth to 5 to 6 children in her lifetime (Sudan Population Census, 2008). One in every 32 Sudanese women is at risk of maternal death. Maternal deaths are common in Sudan and disproportionately occur among the poorest, the rural, and the nomad populations. The maternal mortality rate in Sudan is estimated to be 295 deaths per 100,000 live births as of 2017. Over 60% of maternal deaths in the country are caused by easily preventable and treatable birth complications including hemorrhages, obstructed labor, eclampsia, infections, and complications of unsafe abortion.
Only 51% of women attend antenatal care and only 23% deliver in health care facilities. Sudan ranks among the worst in the world in maternal and infant mortality at 311/100,000 livebirths and 51.2/1000 live births, respectively. To prevent maternal mortality following pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery in Sudan, there is an urgent need to understand the reasons for low utilization of maternal and child health services.
Gender norms and practices are some of the most significant determinants of women’s health. Gender norms influence not only the power relations of men and women inside the family, but also laws, policies, and state institutions, all of which shape health care provision for women. Gendered health systems are characterized by differential treatment of women, both as consumers and providers of health, based on cultural or religious justification.
This study aims to understand the challenges and barriers that are linked to gender which impact women’s access to health care especially delivery and post-delivery services in Sudan. It aims to generate knowledge to inform future medium- to long-term health systems strengthening opportunities, particularly in locations where the IRC is implementing programmes.