Catherine (name changed), a recent midwifery graduate from the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS), has joined a small number of health workers serving the isolated and war-torn community in the Nuba mountains in the south of Sudan. The region, cut off from media and humanitarian assistance, is thought to have 5 doctors, 2 hospitals and 1 surgeon serving its 1 million people.
Maternal mortality is extremely high in the Nuba mountains; many women cannot get to hospitals or clinics and there are no obstetricians or gynecologists to help women when complications arise in pregnancy. Catherine’s skills are therefore vital and potentially life saving for hundreds of pregnant mothers and newborns.
A community bombed by their government
The Nuba mountains are a particularly devastated part of Sudan; a community which has been in conflict with its government since South Sudan became independent in 2011. During Sudan’s civil war the Nubans fought on the side of what is now South Sudan, but when independence came to the south their region remained part of Sudan. Conflict arose with its own government over elections the Nubans claimed were rigged and violence has escalated since then with the government bombing the region and cutting off media and humanitarian access. To read more about the conflict in the Nuba mountains check out Nuba Reports.
A life-saving training centre
But there is hope amongst the devastation, for the Nuba people and for the South Sudanese who also face high maternal mortality rates with 1 in 28 women dying in childbirth.
48 other students, trained as clinical officers, nurses and midwives for South Sudan, graduated alongside Catherine and also returned home soon after. Many have found work and are beginning to have a positive impact. Others have encountered trying times and need our prayers.
Last year, Rebecca, another midwifery graduate, was shot in an attack on the clinic in which she was working (in South Sudan). 40 people around her were killed and she received 2 bullet wounds. We praise God that her life was spared and pray on for her recovery.
The clinical officer graduates returned to Juba to do a year’s internship in a hospital but have often not received pay or accommodation. Some have been forced to pause their training, seek an income elsewhere, save up and return later on to finish the internship.
Others are working away in clinics and hospitals around South Sudan.
18 more students are due to graduate from the NIHS this summer, providing the necessary funding comes in.
Please keep the graduated and graduating students in your prayers and ask that God would work through them to meet the great physical and spiritual needs in South Sudan (and Sudan!).