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Statistics verify what any observer in South Sudan can readily see: women there bear an inordinately high risk of dying in childbirth. In fact, South Sudan is tied with Afghanistan in having the world’s worst rate of maternal death: nearly 1 in 6. There is little healthcare infrastructure outside of the larger towns (few and far between); most women receive no prenatal care. Mercy Beyond Borders supports a one-year internship for girls desiring to become nurses but not quite ready yet for formal nursing training. During their internship they study under an experienced RN at a rural clinic and gain practical, hands-on skills (doing medical intakes; caring for wounds; treating malaria, snakebites, gunshot infections; giving IVs; dispensing medicines; conducting vaccinations in outlying bomas). Those who do well in the internship then receive Mercy Beyond Borders’ scholarships to the nursing college of their choice in S.Sudan. This work is made possible by a 3-year grant from Catholic Healthcare West to Mercy Beyond Borders.
Because most Sudanese women have never been to school, they have not learned about the connection between hygiene and health. Water is scarce, precious and difficult to obtain. Why “waste it” bathing or washing hands? Mercy Beyond Borders conducts Saturday workshops for women in rural villages to teach basic health tenets: “Wash your hands. Boil your water. Cover your food. Eat greens.” The women throng to these workshops because we offer a grand feast of ugali (porridge) at the close of the lesson. Already we are beginning to see behavioral changes. Over time, we expect the high infant mortality rate to ease.
In Kuron, a remote corner of the State of Eastern Equatoria not far from the Ethiopian border, there is a new medical clinic serving the Toposa people. Mercy Beyond Borders funds the pre-nursing interns there, and also has provided a grant of $24,000 in support of general clinic operations. The region is so isolated that patients requiring surgery must travel 6 hours in the back of a pickup truck to Boma, the nearest town; if rains comes (as they do nearly 9 months of the year) the road is impassable and they are out of luck. It’s a logistical nightmare to keep the clinic supplied and to keep the equipment (what little there is) in working order, and very challenging to find staff willing to work in such a remote facility. The clinic is, however, a life-saver for everyone living within a 75 mile radius. Already, at least 5 babies born there (several of them boys!) have been named “Sister Angela” in honor of the clinic Director.
Our Mission: Partnering with displaced women and children in ways that alleviate their extreme poverty.