Alaska Sudan Medical Project

With the vision of "building hope and health for life," the Alaska Sudan Medical Project has worked in a remote, impoverished region of South Sudan since 2008 to provide health, water, sanitation and agricultural systems to counter the injustice and chaos caused by the effects of 40 years of civil war between northern and southern Sudan. This remote region carries some of the worst and most alarming health statistics on the planet. In Jonglei State, South Sudan, where the Alaska Sudan Medical Project is working, children die needlessly of disease and malnutrition. The infant mortality rate is 1,700 deaths per 100,000 births. Nearly 20% of the people suffer from chronic hunger an...

Alaska Sudan Medical Project
PO Box 230183
Anchorage, ALASKA 99523
United States
9072299139
http://www.alaskasudan.org

Program Director

Jason Hahn

Management Team

Jason Hahn

Board of Directors

Jack Hickel, Todd Hardesty, David Fenn, Andrew Cutting, Jon Waterhouse, Jason Meyer, Lisa Eyler, Mark Melchert, Jason Hahn

Project Leaders

Jason Hahn

Mission

With the vision of "building hope and health for life," the Alaska Sudan Medical Project has worked in a remote, impoverished region of South Sudan since 2008 to provide health, water, sanitation and agricultural systems to counter the injustice and chaos caused by the effects of 40 years of civil war between northern and southern Sudan. This remote region carries some of the worst and most alarming health statistics on the planet. In Jonglei State, South Sudan, where the Alaska Sudan Medical Project is working, children die needlessly of disease and malnutrition. The infant mortality rate is 1,700 deaths per 100,000 births. Nearly 20% of the people suffer from chronic hunger and only 10% of the children have received full childhood immunizations (Oxfam, UN). In November 2007 Alaska doctor Jack Hickel visited the remote village of Old Fangak in Jonglei State at the invitation of Dr. Jill Seaman, an Alaskan doctor who has been working in Sudan for over 20 years, and who is one of the world's foremost experts in treating kala-azar. What they found was even more desperate than they could have imagined. In just a ten day period Dr. Hickel watched several villagers die from preventable diseases and malnutrition. Dr. Jack Hickel came home convinced that his community could do something to help the people of Old Fangak. He gathered a group of friends together and formed the Alaska Sudan Medical Project (ASMP). After consulting with Dr. Seaman and envisioning a clear mission, the initial goals of supporting the vital work of Dr. Seaman and improving the health of the local population was formed. The mission of ASMP is simple: to "save lives through health, clean water, and agriculture." Our main goals are to build new health clinics, improve sanitation, provide access to clean water through water well drilling and other methods, and to support small agricultural projects to address frequent famines. Our work gives the Sudanese people a chance to not only survive, but to have hope of a better tomorrow. This vital work, however, can be immensely challenging. Due to a complete lack of roads and infrastructure, few other non-governmental organizations are willing to work in this region. The good news is that the small, grass-roots approach of ASMP is working, and our volunteers, who are accustomed to working in remote regions in Alaska, are adaptable and patient in the face of logistical challenges. By focusing on giving training and tools to the locals to become self-sufficient, we can hope that in a few years they will have the infrastructure to not only live, but to thrive.

Programs

The Alaska Sudan Medical Project is taking a holistic approach by focusing on projects that promote health. The people of Old Fangak are truly some of the most impoverished people in the world with no infrastructure, an on-going famine, and very little commerce. For an improved quality of life, their basic needs must be first met. The main barriers to health in Old Fangak have been identified as a lack of clean water, lack of sanitation, lack of food, and infectious diseases. ASMP has employed programs to tackle each of these daunting challenges. One of the first projects that ASMP employed was a borehole drilling operation for clean water. The village had one operational water well when ASMP arrived, not nearly enough to meet the needs of the village. As a result, many villagers continued to drink untreated water out of the Nile river, resulting in poor health and disease. ASMP coordinated the delivery of portable well-drilling equipment into Old Fangak and started with the goal of delivering five functional water wells in Old Fangak. The task is complex, but ASMP has spent the last three years developing a borehole drilling capacity by getting proper equipment and supplies to Old Fangak, training locals, and working with local communities to identify proper borehole sites. As of this year, Old Fangak now has four functional water wells due to the work of Old Fangak, more than tripling the supply of water in the village. For sanitation projects, ASMP has partnered and provided support to partner organizations such as Solidarites and Medair for WASH projects in Old Fangak. Through coordination of ASMP's locally trained expert welder, Stephen Ayul, this last year we were able to construct 12 pit latrines and three wash stations. Old Fangak currently has one Primary Health Community Center (PHCC), which is an old colonial brick building that Dr. Jill Seaman has turned into a makeshift hospital. The demands of Old Fangak and neighboring villages has greatly exceeded the capacity of this crumbling clinic, and ASMP has identified the need for two new PHCC buildings in the village, one general clinic and one devoted to TB patients. Because of the skill and reknown of Dr. Seaman, and Old Fangak's location as an epicenter for kala-azar, Dr. Jill has a high caseload of patients, and has a staff of over 50 trained South Sudanese clinic workers. The fall of 2010 saw an epidemic of kala-azar, and Dr. Jill was treating up to 1,000 dying patients every day. There is hope however, despite the deadliness of disease, treatment is up to 95% effective, and Dr. Seaman is considered one of the world's experts in kala-azar treatment. With two new, larger, clean and efficient steel-structure PHCC buildings for the community, more lives can be saved and better treatment can be administered in a cleaner environment. Alaska Sudan Medical Project has also begun an immunization program to reach out to nearby villages and provide life-saving immunizations to children. Only 10% of children have received immunizations in this region; as a result there are thousands of needless deaths every year. ASMP stared a pilot immunization program (EPI) this year and trained five local medical technicians to go to surrounding villages and deliver immunizations. This vital and exciting new program funds the training of the technicians, the costs of vaccinations and needles, and traveling supplies for the team. We hope to expand the EPI program to further outlying villages to provide this lifesaving treatment to hundreds or thousands more children. While the people of Old Fangak lack clean water, sanitation, and health care, the primary struggle they have on a day-to-day basis is with starvation. Despite living on the banks of the Nile- one of the most fertile lands in the world, the Nuer of Old Fangak are primarily cattle-herding people who have been in the midst of civil war for the last 40 years. With little or no training and infrastructure for agriculture, and with perpetual insecurity, these Nilotic people have been food insecure for decades, and have relied on aid organizations such as WFP. ASMP hopes to change that by empowering the people of South Sudan to become food independent through agriculture. Through micro-loaning water pumps and roto-tillers to farmers, providing seeds and vital agricultural training and support, we hope to give the locals the tools to become food self-sufficient for years to come. Currently we have 24 farmers in this program, all with small farms that are flourishing. With a dozen more farmers in the initial stages of the program, having been given start-up seeds, we hope to expand the micro-loan program to twenty more farmers, giving them the opportunity to feed their family and bring their produce to nearby needy markets. An investment in one water pump can make all the difference to a family that is living in extreme poverty, and who otherwise has no access to agriculture tools and training. With newfound stability, and with a small investment by this project, we hope to give the people of South Sudan a means by lifting themselves out of a famine. The Alaska Sudan Medical Project has developed a capacity in its first four years of existence that has allowed it to develop programs that tackle the myriad of health challenges in this region. We are humbled to be able to serve these most impoverished people, and by strengthening and expanding our current programs, hope to give these local South Sudanese the means to become self-sufficient, thriving people.

Statistics on Alaska Sudan Medical Project

Financial Statistics

  • Annual Budget for 2012: $240,000
  • Maximum Annual Budget: $240,000
  • Other funding sources: Individual donors, small foundation gifts
  • Religious Affiliation: none
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