By: Laurence Holmes, Communications Officer, International Medical Corps
April 11, 2011 - International Medical Corps’ first class of nursing students has graduated from the Kajo Keji National Health Training Institute. Following the graduation of 30 midwives in June last year, twenty nurses graduated at a ceremony at the hospital in November 2010.
The health needs are enormous in South Sudan, where one in four children born here never lives to age five while maternal mortality is the highest in the world. There is also a massive shortage of trained health workers - in a region of over eight million people there are fewer than 200 doctors. Adding to the shortage of medical professionals, options for medical training in South Sudan are very limited.
With the support of The Hickey Family Foundation, International Medical Corps is strengthening the capacity of local health care professionals in Central Equatoria State by conducting a 30-month training course for certified nurses, and an 18-month training course for community midwives. We also are implementing refresher training for nursing managers and mentoring for national hospital staff.
In addition to the midwifery graduates, the new nursing graduates will significantly increase the total number of certified nurses in Southern Sudan.
Eight of the nursing graduates are now working as Nurse Assistants at Kajo Keji Hospital and five are working for NGOs in Warrap, Lake and Upper Nile State. International Medical Corps is also planning to employ two graduates in Upper Nile State.
The graduation ceremony was attended by special guests from the Ministry of Health, UNFPA and the Kajo Keji County Commissioner. South Sudan TV also covered the event.
Along with their theoretical classroom and laboratory training, the student nurses spent the majority of their time working at the adjacent Kajo Keji State Hospital where they provided patient care and health education.
The experience and skills they learned during their training will serve them and their communities for years into the future, as Southern Sudan moves toward self-reliance.