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Young Medical Graduates in South Sudan Train Local Health Cadres

FILE - Students of Gubdue Health Science Institute, staff and tutors pose for a picture in front of the administration block of the Institute in Yambio, Western Equatoria State, South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2023.

YAMBIO — In a bid to address the scarcity of healthcare professionals in South Sudan's Western Equatoria State, three young medical professionals who are nearing graduation are taking the initiative to train health workers in their community.

The endeavor that has evolved into the Gbudue Health Science Institute, located in Yambio, offers comprehensive three-year diploma programs in midwifery, nursing, and clinical studies.

Mark Kumbonyaki, co-founder and principal of the institute, says while studying at the Physicians and Surgeons College of Juba Teaching Hospital, he and his two friends shared a dream, and the dream transformed into reality with the establishment of the institue in Yambio.

Deputy governor of Western Equatoria State, Kennedy Gaaniko Baime, made his inaugural visit to the institute on Monday, expressing his support for their mission.

Baime pledged to grant the trio land and assistance in obtaining registration from the Ministry of Health.

"I have already liaised with my colleagues in the Ministry of Health at the national level, including the undersecretary. They have all expressed their commitment to facilitate your institute's swift registration," Baime said.

In 2021, the World Health Organization reported a dire maternal mortality rate of 789 deaths per 100,000 live births in South Sudan.

Rose Obede, the director general of Western Equatoria State Ministry of Health, praised the dedication of the three young medical professionals in delivering essential care services to the community.

Obede said there is a shortage across our healthcare facilities and commended the institute for stepping in to assist.

Our mothers and children are still suffering," she said, "Thanks to this institute, we now have hope of nurturing individuals who understand our environment and are better suited to serve our community. Bringing in outsiders would not be as effective."

Recalling the program's modest beginnings, including a shortage of resources leading him to request students to bring their own chairs from home for lectures, Kumbonyaki said the trio's aim was to share the knowledge acquired at the Juba Teaching Hospital.

"Before we left, there was a gap in tutorship and available tutors to teach medical students. We committed ourselves to a year and a half of training and returned to serve our entire community."

Kumbonyaki says he hopes the institute will expand its reach, attracting students from across South Sudan.