Photo Credit: Paul Jeffrey
Since 2015, Bon Secours has been a major supporter in leading health care improvements in South Sudan by training young men and women to be nurses and midwives.
“It’s a very different reality [in South Sudan],” says Camille Grippon, our system director of global ministries.
When the country gained its independence for the Republic of Sudan in 2011, there were just 83 registered nurses and 19 registered midwives serving the country’s population of 9.8 million. Most people in that region historically have not been able to get the education they need to become health care workers, either because there is no access to training, or the cost is prohibitive. Continuous civil unrest has led to widespread poverty and hunger.
Through an entity called Friends in Solidarity, our ministry is a cornerstone partner providing fundraising support for the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI) in Wau, Sudan. The funds support general operations and student scholarships. Our support of this work not only reflects our Catholic identity, it helps us fulfill our mission to bring good help to those in need, especially those who are poor and underserved.
To date, 154 nurses and 73 midwives have graduated from CHTI. In fact, 21% of all nurses in the South Sudan and 28% of all midwives received their training at the institute! South Sudan is the world’s newest country yet has the worst maternal/child health indicators in the world. It’s also the youngest country – half the population is under the age of 18.
Since its opening in 2010, CHTI has trained young adults continuously, despite societal disruptions, earning it considerable respect in the community. After graduation, these nurses and midwives typically find work in hospitals or pursue additional training in nearby nations.
By supporting CHTI, Friends in Solidarity has helped address the lack of professional nurses and midwives in the region by creating a pipeline of health workers they would not otherwise have. At the same time, it lifts up families by empowering the students, especially young women.
“When they can be trained for health care, that translates to income for their family and the whole family progresses,” explains Camille. “It brings pride to the tribal leadership.”
It’s also important that the work promotes peace and care of the vulnerable.
“What we’re able to do in supporting [CHTI] is a peace-building process. We’re very proud of that,” Camille shares.
Enjoy stories that celebrate our amazing Bon Secours nurses during National Nurses’ Week.
Also, learn about the health care services we offer at Bon Secours.