Nursing and Midwife Training Program

South Sudan is in desperate need of healthcare workers. A recent study suggested nearly 70% of healthcare services are no longer functioning in the country due to lack of supplies, access, or qualified personnel.

Many government hospitals have shut their doors, forcing people who need medical care to travel long distances in perilous conditions to find help. To illustrate the shortfall, the ratio of available doctors is estimated at 1 for every 65,500 individuals. And there is approximately one midwife for every 39,000 women who need one.

That’s why Sudan Relief Fund partners with Solidarity for South Sudan to support the vital work of the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau. Its mission is to train nurses and midwives to help reach South Sudan’s vastly underserved communities in desperate need of these services.

Tragically, a girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in childbirth than finish school. It’s a heartbreaking statistic, but one that underscores the critical need for more nurses and midwives in this nation.

South Sudan has one of the worst survival rates in the world for mothers and babies in childbirth. Even today, too many mothers here lack access to healthcare, still giving birth in huts with dirt floors in unsanitary conditions, with no qualified medical supervision. The results are tragic and unacceptable.

Because of archaic forced marriage practices that still occur, many girls become young mothers before they even reach age 18. Child brides can face complications in pregnancy and delivery, contributing to the nation’s tragic mortality rate in childbirth.

Imagine having no maternal checkups, no medical care during pregnancy or delivery, and nowhere to have your baby except in a thatched hut in the countryside. Given these conditions, any complication in pregnancy or childbirth – even easily treatable ones – can quickly turn deadly for both mother and infant.

The Catholic Health Training Institute is fighting to change these statistics. From just 18 inaugural students when the program began in 2010, the school has grown to more than five times its original enrollment, with one third of its students now being women. This is a landmark accomplishment in a country where girls are historically viewed as in little need of education or professional skills.

Students at the institute come from all different tribes and regions of the country, working side by side. In addition to medical training, students from diverse backgrounds complete workshops in critical human relations training that includes conflict resolution, peaceful coexistence, community building, and trauma healing, among others.

Graduates of CHTI are the first in their nation to become certified as RN’s and RM’s (registered nurses and midwives) with a Diploma in Nursing or a Diploma in Midwifery. To earn their designation, students must complete a three-year academic study and a mentorship practicum, working hands-on in a clinical setting at hospitals and health clinics throughout South Sudan.

To date, the Catholic Health Training Institute has sent more than 350 graduates into the field to serve the community as nurses and midwives, qualified to share their medical skills with the many in need. A full 83% of graduates are now employed in mission hospitals or NGOs across the country.

Sudan Relief Fund, in conjunction with our partner organization, Solidarity With South Sudan, is committed to supporting this vital work that you help to make possible.

With your support, the Catholic Health Training Institute will continue to equip students to become qualified nurses and midwives in the field, and play a vital role in changing the future for this nation – to realize the ultimate objective when every man, woman, or child in South Sudan can have access to the healthcare they need.

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