JHSI: New Healthcare Training Up and Running

Previous NIHS students

The Jonglei Health Sciences Institute (JHSI) is a healthcare training centre located in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan. It is run by Drs Anil and Shalini Cherian, Indian missionary medics who previously led the National Institute of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda (previous students pictured with Anil and Shalini).

Following the Cherians’ arrival in South Sudan, they spent some time figuring out various administrative hurdles before the JHSI began operations on 25th March 2019 with an intake of 35 students – 21 men and 14 women. It was decided that the Institute would run two courses – the Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Public Health (students qualify as clinical officers) and the Diploma in Registered Midwifery.  The Institute is now affiliated to the Dr John Garang Memorial University of Sciences and Technology (JGMUST) which is one of the five national universities in South Sudan. The Cherians have been appointed faculty of the university’s Department of Medicine and Public Health.

The students underwent a rigorous selection process. At first, 121 hopefuls submitted applications and 65 were invited for written tests and interviews, after which 35 were selected (20 for Clinical Medicine and Public Health and 15 for Registered Midwifery).

Group work at the JHSI
New students engaging in some group work at the JHSI

After the selection of students, the Cherians were still waiting for the government to finance repairs to the clinic building, originally built by the Egyptian government, that was to house the JHSI. However, they realised that this would take time and in fact, the renovations still have not begun over two months later. They took the decision to begin lessons regardless, funded by tuition fees collected from students and grants from organisations such as AID. Beginning with a foundation course on subjects including English, Maths and Science, Anil and Shalini then progressed onto topics such as Anatomy, Nutrition, Nursing and Communication Skills.

The next challenge for the Cherians is to recruit further staff for the JHSI so they are able to spread the load more evenly. They currently have six staff – an international volunteer doctor from Australia, two administrators and four support staff (maintenance, security and cleaning). They need to recruit one tutor for the Clinical Medicine course and two for the Midwifery course. In April, they interviewed a few candidates for these vacant positions but none of those selected wanted to join because the salary was too low (even though this is significantly higher than current government remuneration scales). International NGOs pay much higher salaries that the JHSI is not able to match realistically. Nevertheless, Anil and Shalini are confident that God will provide colleagues with the right expertise to teach at the JHSI and support them as they continue to train the new students.

Please join us in praying for the JHSI and for Anil and Shalini as the students continue to work hard, learning vital knowledge every day that will eventually save lives across South Sudan.