Jan 27, 2020

The Next Generation's Story

Classmates practicing their resuscitation skills.
Classmates practicing their resuscitation skills.

Abraham is a 25-year-old student who just completed his first year at one of International Medical Corps’ three midwifery schools in South Sudan. His path to the field of midwifery was not easy.

Abraham comes from a large family and he is the youngest of ten children. Abraham’s story begins in primary school. While he had a sponsor for a few years, “I supported my studies through small jobs,” Abraham explains. “I faced numerous challenges during that period, including the payment of school fees and scholastic materials, like textbooks, notebooks, pens and school bags as well as the seven miles’ transport from my home to the school.”

Nevertheless, he persevered with the support of his mother. His father served in the army during the war and was frequently absent for long periods of time. He graduated from primary school in 2012 and then faced the same challenges in secondary school; thanks to a partial sponsorship and part-time employment, he was able to find sufficient funds to pay for school fees, housing and transportation. In 2016, Abraham celebrated the completion of his secondary education.

He feels very privileged to be supported by a scholarship at the Kajo-Keji Health Sciences Institute. It came as a surprise. “One day, when I was visiting South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, I saw an advertisement for a scholarship for any qualified science student to apply in the fields of midwifery and nursing,” Abraham explains.

“Four months later, I was called for an interview after the list of candidates was announced,” he says, and began his studies in January 2019. This class of students just completed their first year and their second clinical rotations.

Many men are enrolled in the three-year midwifery program, and, across all three schools, 36% of the first-year students are men like Abraham. “I promise to do my part to reduce the suffering of the people of South Sudan by offering the knowledge and skills I have gained in this program,” Abraham assures us. “I will teach other students or people who need this knowledge and skills; provide basic health services like nursing care to patients in any health facility; and advocate for better understanding of sexual and reproductive rights and the consequences of gender-based violence for women and girls.”

International Medical Corps’ nursing and midwifery students come from different parts of South Sudan and have different backgrounds, including experience as refugees and with armed conflict. Most are enrolled free-of-charge so that they can focus solely on their studies.

While institutional donors cover most of the educational expense and school maintenance, the students and faculty have identified the need for solar panels to replace an aging generator, which has been causing disruptions in electricity in Juba; additional teaching aids like an electronic birth simulator at the Kajo-Keji school; and additional toilet facilities and a school bus for travel to clinical placements at Wau.

Donations, like those from the GlobalGiving community the next generation of health professionals, like Abraham, in South Sudan.

Abraham, studying for a Diploma of Midwifery
Abraham, studying for a Diploma of Midwifery
A student recording vaccination records.
A student recording vaccination records.
Dec 19, 2019

Her Name is "Victory"

Victorine with International Medical Corps staff.
Victorine with International Medical Corps staff.

With 3,348 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola and 2,210 deaths as of December 16, 2019, the Ebola outbreak in the DRC continues unabated.

In September 2019, International Medical Corps admitted a 17-year-old pregnant woman from Biakato to its Ebola Treatment Center in Mangina. The woman was vomiting and had abdominal pains, headache, fatigue, cough and vertigo. Later that day, the woman tested positive for the Ebola virus. She passed away a few days later.

But from her death came new life. On September 29 and at an estimated 34 weeks’ gestation, a girl was born via emergency C-section at a nearby facility as her mother was dying, weighing only 4.4 pounds. The little girl required intensive care and continuous treatment for the first 24 hours of her life.

Everyone at the Ebola Treatment Center waited to see if she would survive these critical moments and wondered whether she would have Ebola. The Ebola virus has long been known to be passed through bodily fluids for long after a patient has recovered, but more research is needed to know the probability of passing the infection from a mother to her newborn child.

Happily, the little girl made it through the first few days without advanced breathing assistance and was soon declared “Ebola-free” by the team of International Medical Corps’ doctors. Fitting the challenging circumstances of her birth, the little girl was named Victorine — meaning “Victory” in English.

Victorine was discharged from intensive care at the nearby facility, and was placed in the Mangina Ebola Treatment Center's nursery to be monitored over the next month. The nursery at the Ebola Treatment Center provides a child-friendly space for the children of people diagnosed with Ebola, with an isolated section for children who have the disease themselves. The intent of the nursery is to mitigate the long-term psychological impact of the disease while providing appropriate developmental and play activities.

Victorine is currently thriving and will remain in the care of the Congolese nuns who help run the nursery until she is strong enough to return to her family.

In addition to Victorine and the Mangina Ebola Treatment Center, International Medical Corps supports 74 facilities that screen for Ebola and refer patients to more advanced care in Ebola Treatment Centers as needed. As of October 31, 2019, International Medical Corps’ supported facilities had screened more than 1.09 million people for Ebola.

International Medical Corps sincerely thanks all of you in the GlobalGiving community for your continued support of our efforts to also be victorious over the Ebola virus.

Victorine, born on September 29, 2019.
Victorine, born on September 29, 2019.
Dec 9, 2019

The Spirit of the Bahamas

Dr. Myron (l), Deputy PM (c) and ERT lead (r).
Dr. Myron (l), Deputy PM (c) and ERT lead (r).

The Spirit of the Bahamas

When International Medical Corps’ volunteer, Dr. Myron, heard about the devastation in the Bahamas, he put his neurosurgery residency on hold to deploy with International Medical Corps and care for the survivors of Hurricane Dorian. “I’m Bahamian,” he said in a recent interview. “When I saw the devastation from what had happened, I looked for a way to help. I have the skills to practice medicine and my country is hurting. I felt helpless sitting in my apartment in Boston. I knew I needed to be here.”

Once in the Bahamas, it was quickly apparent that doctor would be able to provide far more than medical care to his fellow citizens during a time of enormous need. His very presence — treating patients at our deployed clinic in the community of High Rock, in hard-hit central Grand Bahama island — served as an inspiration to those he treated.

The response was understandable. Dr. Myron is Bahamian, and he’s also a considered a national hero in this small island country — a native son who has succeeded on the larger world stage. His accomplishments, together with his modest, respectful manner and obvious affection for the land of his birth, make him a source of national pride and a role model for thousands of young Bahamians.

During his two-weeks with International Medical Corps on Grand Bahama island, Dr. Myron helped treat an array of conditions, including lacerations and puncture wounds, and tended to patients with non-communicable disease and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Dr. Myron said he has drawn strength from the public’s response to the storm, as the country faces the daunting task of rebuilding and starting again. “The resilience, the spirit — the energy — of the people here has been uplifting,” he said, adding that he believed International Medical Corps’ clinic’s opening in High Rock was as important psychologically for local survivors of the giant storm as it was medically.

“People see a structure here go up that wasn’t here before the hurricane, and it has an impact,” he noted. “It means a lot to them. It gives them hope.”

Since the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, International Medical Corps has provided more than 1,000 medical consultations across the island of Grand Bahama. Thank you to the GlobalGiving community for such assistance, and supporting resiliency and hope — the spirit of the Bahamas.

Dr. Myron attending to a High Rock resident.
Dr. Myron attending to a High Rock resident.
 
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