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Control of infectious disease during pregnancy among pastoralists in South Sudan: A case for investment into mobile clinics

Odjidja, Emmanuel Nene
Pastoralism 2018 v.8 no.1 pp. 27
Treponema, case studies, cows, disease control, environmental factors, fetus, health services, malaria, milk, pastoralism, pastures, polygamy, pregnancy, pregnant women, raw milk, risk, sexually transmitted diseases, Sudan
Given their high intermittent mobility, proximity to cattle as well as underlying cultural practices, pastoralists are among groups with high exposure to infectious diseases. Living under adverse environmental conditions while in search for pasture can result in malaria and other environmental pathogenic diseases. Proximity to cattle and consumption of raw untreated milk from cows result in Treponema infections and bovine TB. Furthermore, widespread practice of polygamous relations increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Compounded with this, especially in humanitarian crisis settings with weaker health systems, pregnant pastoralists are under-served resulting in an escalation of the impact of infectious diseases which affects pregnant women and their developing foetus via vertical transmission. Using South Sudan as a case study, this paper argues that it is essential to control infectious diseases among pregnant pastoralists, through exploring various ambulatory health services especially mobile clinics. In addition, the paper calls for an increased investment into mobile clinics for pregnant pastoralists as a way of achieving global responsibility of ensuring universal health coverage.