The ICMDA National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) has taken on 18 new students to begin a 3 year course to become clinical officers. This is in addition to the 51 students already at the Institute, 49 of whom have successfully graduated into the second year and 2 of whom are repeating first year exams. We are delighted that the Institute is expanding and becoming more established in this way.
The aim of the Institute is to transform the dire healthcare situation in South Sudan, where a 15 year old girl is more likely to die during childbirth than to complete her education. There is a huge lack of health workers in the country, meaning that many have little or no access to healthcare. As a result, there is a desperate need for high-quality training centres such as the NIHS. The Institute is currently based in Mengo Hospital, Kampala, Uganda due to conflict in South Sudan – but the students are all South Sudanese and are preparing to work back in South Sudan once qualified.
Due to space limitations at Mengo Hospital, the Institute was only able to take on a further 18 students this academic year, and the governing board decided it would be wise to take them all from the same discipline, to avoid complications with timetabling and unnecessarily stretching the teaching staff.
Back to School…
The new students have so far been inducted with a Student Guild week – games, sports and fun for the whole Institute and a good opportunity for 1st and 2nd year students to mix. They have also been on the annual student’s retreat; a time of Christian teaching and reflection. Finally, they have had a two week ‘Bridge’ course to prepare them for studying – including modules in English, Maths, Science and ‘Learning to Learn’.
Now the 1st years have begun their studies and are settling in well.
There are some significant differences between the two year groups; the second years have an average age of 27, whereas the first years average around 23-24 years, with some coming straight from school. Older students have been more affected by the civil war in South Sudan and have found it difficult settling in to the culture in Uganda. However, the younger students have mostly been schooled in Uganda and Kenya, so they should find it simpler settling in to their new home.
We praise God that the NIHS was able to take on these new students and continue to grow. Please pray for them to continue to settle in well, to bond well with each other and the 2nd years, to learn well, work hard and be prepared to serve in a Christ-like way when they go back to work in South Sudan. Please pray for the 2nd years who are getting a lot of practical experience at the moment – and the teaching staff who always have a lot to do! Please also pray for wisdom and opportunity to establish the Institute, long term in South Sudan, and so continue to pray for long-lasting peace in the country.