HomePrayer UpdatesDoing and Being: Medical Work in Moyo District

Doing and Being: Medical Work in Moyo District

I (Jeff) finished my initial “circuit” of the six “Health Centre III’s” in the refugee settlements of Moyo District.  A Health Centre III is a small hospital that performs deliveries and admits patients as well as seeing 100+ patients in clinic each day.  Each is staffed by 3 “Clinical Officers” (like Physician Assistants) and multiple nurses, lab techs, counselors, translators, and midwives.  Many of the staff are new graduates and are craving further training and help with the complex situations they are facing with refugee patients.  I am working under the organization “Medical Teams International,” who has been entrusted (by the United Nations) the task of providing medical care to the 175,000 refugees in the district.  Back in the Moyo District Hospital, I am providing clinical oversight to the Pediatrics Ward.  A young doctor who has just finished with his internship was also assigned to the ward, so I am working with him to make improvements in the hospital care of children.
Recent patient encounter at a Health Centre III
An older woman was brought in because it was discovered that she was about to hang herself.  She had entered Uganda without registering, and was staying with her brother and his wife.  The brother was also not registered, so the three of them were struggling to survive on the rations provided for the one who was registered as a refugee.  The woman’s 10 year old son was somewhere in the settlement, but she had not been able to locate him.  Her brother’s wife demanded that she leave.  She thought “if I go back to South Sudan, I will be killed; if I stay here, I will die of starvation… so I might as well end my life.”  Such is the hopelessness that many face.  The relief worker that brought her to us said that if she was sent immediately to the reception center, she would linger for several weeks, and little attention would be given her depressed state.  There would be little to stop her from completing what she had thought to do.  The Clinical Officer with whom I was seeing this patient asked what I thought we should do.  I asked her what their usual protocol was for suicide attempts.  She replied that they hadn’t had a case like this before.  So, we talked through the importance of keeping her safe until she was registered.  There are few medications to offer her for depression, but they could bring in a counselor, and contact a pastor to come talk with her.  Near the end of the conversation, I realized she spoke Arabic.  Earlier in the day, I had struggled to pull up some key Arabic words, but I did my best at praying with her.
Some days we struggle with what, if anything, we are bringing to the situation the South Sudanese face.  Perhaps, hope— to those in the settlements, that we, and the Lord, have not forgotten them.  And to the medical staff serving the refugees, hope in the form of support and education, as they are quite isolated at their various posts in this boggy area along the Nile.  We are having discussions with staff and others to determine how to structure this encouragement— such as “visiting doctor days” for ultrasound scanning and consulting on more difficult patients, and/or formal training courses.  More than anything we can do— for the needs are immense—we hope that we are the presence of Christ to staff, refugees, and their hosts, the Ma’di people.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 October 2017 14:04

Our Mission:

Share the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen His Church through medical care and education, discipleship, and loving the people of South Sudan as a family.


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