Grace Konga is training to be a clinical officer at the Maridi National Health Training Institute (NHTI) in South Sudan. A clinical officer is a cadre between physician and nurse who can be trained in half the time and at one-fifth the cost to carry out 70% of the work a physician does. AMREF is training Grace and other Clinical Officers at the NHTI. Grace is proud to be helping other women access good quality health care.
I am aged 27 years and married with one child. I come from Eastern Equatoria State, Torit County in South Sudan. Torit County has an approximate population of 260,000 people with poor infrastructure, social and health delivery services.
As a young woman, I feel challenged with the high maternal mortality rate in Eastern Equatoria and as whole in South Sudan. On realization of the huge contribution I could make to change this situation, I decided to enroll for the Diploma in Clinical and Public Health. The skills and knowledge I obtain will help create confidence in the women of South Sudan and motivate them to seek medical assistance in health facilities.
In my culture, it is seen as a taboo for women to be physically examined by a male who is not the husband of the women being examined. Because of this, women tend to refrain from seeking medical assistance in health facilities, especially the antenatal clinics, and turn to Traditional Birth Attendants for help. This is because most of the health practitioners in the health facilities are men.
The knowledge I acquired in clinical medicine and public health has helped me to develop in many ways, and I have learnt about the prevention diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. Currently, I am working at Nimule Hospital, for my internship practice where I am able to translate the knowledge gained in the class into practice through hands-on experience. My patients have become impressed with my work and have developed more trust in me. This has given me courage and pride to be a clinical officer.
I wish more young women could be trained as clinical officers to help treat the women's health issues like HIV/AIDS, antenatal care, breast and cervical cancer awareness, child health and nutrition in my country.
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