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Bringing Hope to South Sudan through Nursing Scholarships

Dear Friend,

South Sudan has been independent from Sudan since 2011 but is still paying the price for decades of civil war. As teachers fled and schools were bombed, generations grew-up without the opportunity to complete their education.

As a result, the new nation lacks many of the institutions it needs to thrive – including medical and healthcare services. To help fill this gap, Samaritan’s Purse supports the only hospital in Maban County, in the dusty town of Bunj not far from the Ethiopian border. The hospital has 60 beds but is limited to only one surgeon and a shortage of trained nurses.

The surgeon is Dr Evan Atar, a Sudanese national who came to Bunj in 2011. He is on call 24 hours a day, providing life-saving care to victims of malaria, gunshot wounds and other emergencies. He has delivered hundreds of babies − including one day when he had to do six caesarean sections. One mother honoured him by naming her baby Atar. “Everyone knows that he gives very good care,” she said.

Because Dr Atar is so busy, he depends on the nurses to care for patients as they recover or to alert him if complications develop. However, many of the local nurses are not highly trained. To improve the level of care, Samaritan’s Purse is offering two scholarships for local nurses to attend Continuing Medical Education classes. We are also arranging for nurse-midwives to be trained at the national teaching hospital in Juba, more than 500 kilometres from Bunj.

MABAN HOSPITAL, SOUTH SUDAN: Patient receiving much needed medical care.

Samaritan’s Purse has already invested in the Bunj hospital by adding an operating theatre, and a patient ward that increased the number of beds from 15 to 60. We also added two doctors, a nursing staff director and others who have helped raise the level of care and relieve the load on Dr Atar.

Bunj Hospital is adjacent to the Doro refugee camp, where Samaritan’s Purse provides food, shelter, clean water and other assistance to more than 45,000 people who have fled violence around their homes in Sudan.

Dr Atar said that it is important that Samaritan’s Purse works in the Name of Jesus − considering how this land has been bitterly divided by tribal and religious differences. “We are the only ones here to help them, and we are the only witness for Christ among these people,” Dr Atar said. “Jesus gave His love to us, without asking for anything in return. Here, we do just a little to help, but God is with us. We can’t do anything by ourselves.”

Thank you for your prayers and support for the worldwide projects of Samaritan’s Purse, as we seek to follow the compassionate example of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). May God bless you.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Franklin Graham


Getting Back to Basics

When you require medical attention in Australia or New Zealand you know that there are hospitals ready and able to care for you. During your stay you can expect a series of tests to monitor your pulse, temperature, respiratory rate and blood pressure, and you know that the nurses and doctors have the necessary skills to give you the best possible care. However, in Maban Hospital, South Sudan, regular observations are not always taken. Lack of education, resources and problem-solving skills significantly impact a standard hospital practice which can have serious implication.

During a recent visit, our Australian-born Maternal Health Adviser, Annette Bennett, and Matron Jane, walked through the hospital wards looking at patient notes. Many of the patients on the ward that day had not had any observations taken. A discussion took place with the staff on duty and it became apparent that staff put a higher level of importance on taking a patient’s blood pressure than any other observation. However, when they were unable to do that, due to the Hospital’s only operational blood pressure machine being used on another ward, they didn’t take any observations at all.

This discussion lead to impromptu ‘on the job’ training about the importance of doing observations that don’t require equipment such as taking the pulse and respiratory rate. Annette and Jane explained how much the staff could learn about a person’s overall health status just through their pulse and respiratory rate, and also were able to talk through the process for escalation if a patient does look like they are deteriorating.

MABAN HOSPITAL, SOUTH SUDAN: Mother receiving care for her newborn.

In developed countries we take these problems-solving skills for granted. However, in countries like South Sudan, where there are few formal education opportunities and the education system is based on rote learning, the ability to think ‘outside the box’ is limited.  For medical professionals this result is a lack of empowerment to make decisions about a patient’s care and to seek alternative solutions to problems such as not having a blood pressure machine available.

Medical education, and in particular our Nursing Scholarship Program, provides the opportunity for medical professionals to not only develop problem solving and critical thinking skills, but to also apply them in a practical way in the care of their patients. “Resources and education have been limited. However, we now have an opportunity to support dedicated professionals who want to be able to give their patients better care” Annette said. It will allow us to not only empower medical professionals in South Sudan but will also enable the growth and quality of health care in the nation.

For $30,000 we can train two students over three years to become midwives. Can you help? 

Please click below to donate.