Best midwife: Save the Children fetes Deborah David for saving mothers and children in South Sudan

Friday 18 March 2022

When Deborah David Phar, 27, a Save the Children midwife from South Sudan arrived inWalgak, Akobo County – South Sudan in September 2021, her work was cut out for her: reducing maternal and child mortality. So, with faith and unwavering passion to make a difference she set out to do just that, making this her top most goal. And to save lives she has, so well that Save the Children has awarded her a global award for her excellence in clinical services in 2021. 

Deborah, 27, Midwife, Save the Children SouthSudan. Photo: Save the Children.

Here is her story in her own words:

“For the more than six months that I have been in Walgak, I have been in touch with the most disadvantaged communities. I’d say different factors contribute to their suffering.

Top among them is the lack of knowledge on the importance of giving birth in a health facility under the care of qualified personnel and the benefits of Antenatal and Post Natal Care.

“In Walgak, mothers prepare to deliver at home because they do not feel comfortable leaving their children home alone at night. They fear attacks and abduction of their children and wants to stay and protect them.

“Most of the cases I have been solving are complicated cases - Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), Intrauterine Device (IUD) and Antepartum Hemorrhage (APH), Obstructed labor, malaria in pregnancy, Neonatal and maternal sepsis where mothers are being carried unconscious at risk of dying.

“Sometimes, I feel so heartbroken at the thought that women and children could be dying of preventable and treatable causes. This is what keeps me awake at night, and my intention is to use the knowledge and skills that I have to save lives of as many mothers and their babies as possible.

“Walgak Primary Health Care is the only referral health facility in the area serving about 35 Thousand people. This makes it very difficult for mothers living in rural areas to get live saving services in the event of a complicated pregnancy. I am worried about the future of this community and my biggest dream is to see Walgak Health Centre transformed into a big referral hospital complete with a theatre facility and well-equipped laboratory.  

Deborah, examines an expectant mother at Walgak Health Facility. Photo: Save the Children

“It gives me a great sense of pride and happiness to get this recognition. I want to thank Save the Children for recognizing my work. It gives me a lot of hope and a renewed sense of purpose, you know, to continue helping and delivering services to mothers and children. This award is for the mothers and children we work with. This is for my team in Welgak who work tirelessly to provide services, often times making huge sacrifices to save lives, all in effort to ensure that all children survive, learn and are protected.”  

About the award

Deborah David Phar is a Midwife working in Walgak, Akobo County, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Jonglei State has seen challenging security situation over the last few years as well as frequent flooding.

Save the Children provides services through mobile clinics in the Akobo area, where Deborah has been providing midwifery services in extremely challenging conditions walking long hours, often through water (during recent flooding) to support women and new-borns living in conflict situations, working with minimal resources.

Deborah has gone beyond the call of duty by working over nights in under staffed clinics, supporting referral care while living in basic circumstances to carry out her work.


Written By Deborah David Phar, and Tito Justin.