February 17th 2022

Communities Overcoming Childhood Diseases in South Sudan


Boma health workers help to reduce the number of child deaths in their own communities by preventing and treating common childhood illnesses.

Boma Health Initiative

The Boma Health Initiative helps communities that cannot easily access health services, have life-saving treatment for children under five years. Local community members who are trained to become boma health workers, play an important part in reducing childhood deaths in their bomas (villages) by preventing and treating common illnesses like malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, and referring seriously sick children and adults to health facilities.

Carrying the drugs and supplies with him, a Boma Health Worker treats sick children in his Boma

James's Story

James Ukello is a boma health worker in Raja County. Whilst walking to the boma in his district, James found a mother struggling to walk with her child under the blistering mid-day heat. After seeing the child’s critical condition, James immediately brought them to the nearest shelter, where he tested the child for malaria.

Carrying the supplies and drugs with him meant that James could begin to treat the child immediately with ACT drugs for malaria.

The mother of the sick child said, “my child was very hot and sick today. I didn’t think I would reach the hospital in time when I met the boma health worker". After following James's instructions to keep her son cool with a cloth soaked in water and give the drugs for three days, she added "now my son’s body is not so hot and I can see he is improving. Thank you so much for helping me and my son.”

After three days, James re-visited the child and his mother and could see the child had started to make a full recovery and was back playing with his friends.


Providing support across South Sudan

HealthNet TPO works with boma health workers in communities across Terekeka, Aweil North, Aweil West and Raja counties in South Sudan, with funding from the Health Pooled Fund. In total, 320 boma health workers provide community-level support (80 in each county) under the supervision of four supervisors. In 2021, over 104,000 children with malaria, diarrhoea pneumonia were treated by a boma health worker, preventing serious illness and death.

The boma health workers also educate community members on health topics including hygiene, nutrition and the importance of routine vaccination for children. In 2021, more than 330,000 community members received health education, and almost 3,900 children under the age of one were identified as not being vaccinated and referred to immunisation centres to protect them against illnesses included polio.

The impact of the Boma Health Initiative

The Boma Health initiative has proved to be a successful intervention strategy to deliver health services to those who could not easily access it. Reaching sick children early and preventing serious illness and death has had a positive impact on the health and mortality of children living in these counties. Many community members would only make the long and often difficult journey to health centres during times of serious illness. Now, at no additional cost to the community, children can access life-saving treatment within their own boma. By also implementing government-led programmes for health education, identification and referral of severe conditions and immunisation programmes, the boma health workers are helping to create a long-lasting healthy environment. Since the initiative was implemented, the burden on health facilities has reduced, enabling facilities to better take care of severe to critical conditions.


Donate today to support a boma health worker in South Sudan and save children’s lives.