In the past four years, the National Institute of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda has trained approximately 70 healthcare workers (clinical officers, nurses and midwives) for South Sudan. Anil and Shalini Cherian, two missionary doctors who run the project, have recently moved to South Sudan to relocate the project to Bor, Jonglei State, where it will be easier to recruit South Sudanese students to participate. This will require a lot of hard work and patience but we know it is worth it thanks to people like Ghai Tuor Mabiei. Ghai is a graduate of the NIHS and now works as a nurse for Comitato di Collaborazione Medica (CCM, Medical Collaboration Committee), an Italian healthcare NGO. We got in touch with him recently for an update on his work since leaving the NIHS.
Ghai grew up himself in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya so knows what it is like to be displaced from one’s home country, just like millions of South Sudanese today. He completed his primary and secondary education in Kakuma before returning to South Sudan in 2010 to teach at a girls’ primary school. In 2014, he took the opportunity to enrol at the NIHS and graduated with a Diploma in Registered Nursing in 2017. This is what Ghai wrote to us about his experiences studying at the NIHS:
‘Studying at the NIHS was an amazing and a great opportunity for me and to my colleagues and to all South Sudanese who were not in the training because the people and I knew that we would come out from training with great competence in knowledge and skills to improve the worst health state of South Sudan, which indeed has happened. The course itself was a challenge because I had never been to medical training where you should be given a lot of course units and a very limited time. We also had less number of tutors who could be able to exhaust the assigned courses. But these challenges were simply solved with individual commitment and that’s why we have successfully graduated.
‘I was so much encouraged by the availability of many things; books, internet, tablets to access the internet, exposures in different hospitals with different set up both in Uganda and Kenya and also food was adequate. I also got encouraged because we were being visited by some of the people from AID like John Inglis-Jones and Alice who came to see how we were going on and asked for challenges. They asked for our prayer request and I felt that we were not alone.’
Ghai Tuor works as a Nutrition Nurse and Surgical Ward Supervisor with the CCM in Bhar-el Ghazal, a north-western region of South Sudan close to the border with the North. His contract finishes at the end of this month when he will return to Bor, where he is from. There are many challenges facing Ghai and his colleagues at the hospital:
‘The living situation is normal but we are having a lots of gaps in the work because we have less number of qualified staff to run the hospital with a capacity of over 500 in-patients monthly. We also have insufficient equipment in the hospital and in some cases we lose patients who are not candidates of death. Since God gave me this opportunity through AID to train as a Diploma Nurse, I still hope that the basic I have acquired will still be added in further training to get Bachelors’ so that I do much more than I am doing now. I also hope that the poor health condition of South Sudan will start changing through us who have trained from ICMDA, NIHS and the rest with the same training in other institutions.’
Please join with us in praying for Ghai Tuor as he continues to work hard to address the health needs of patients:
- He would especially value prayer that he would be able to make the most of the skills that he has gained already and that he would be able to access more advanced training in the future.
- Please also pray for the current peace agreement to endure in South Sudan so that trained healthcare professionals like Ghai can easily access parts of the country where their skills are required.
- Finally, pray that Ghai and his colleagues will be able to find jobs so that they can use their training – this is a constant struggle in a country with very little resources.
Many thanks to you and the whole AID for the hearty support you have given to South Sudan, through us. We trainees will never forget as well as the entire South Sudan this kind of help.
Ghai Tuor Mabiei