If you have been following the news from South Sudan, you know this new nation confronts many challenges, including threats of renewed warfare, extreme poverty and a shortage of government services. But there are reasons for optimism, thanks, in part, to organizations like the John Dau Foundation, an Aid for Africa member.
It took five years for John Dau to make his journey with thousands of children out of war-ravaged southern Sudan to refuge in Kenya in 1992. He and 140 other “lost boys” were eventually resettled in the United States, where John now lives. John never forgot where he came from and worked to establish a foundation that would provide health care in Duk county, Sudan, his former home.
The Duk Lost Boys Clinic, now in the new nation of South Sudan, has been a medical lifeline for more than 65,000 patients in a region without other reliable medical facilities. John and his supporters just celebrated another milestone — the clinic’s fifth anniversary.
South Sudan has the world’s highest maternal fatality rate, due in part to mothers delivering their children on dirt floors without skilled attendants or supplies. To combat this, the Foundation runs education campaigns that encourage women of child bearing age to visit the clinic’s maternity ward. They also provide traditional birth attendants with medical supplies for safer deliveries.
Clinic staff have vaccinated more than 15,000 children and screened each child visiting its facility for vitamin A deficiency, which, if not treated, can result in blindness. Its new nutrition center helps combat rising malnutrition, and a community garden introduces villagers to new crops that withstand the region’s harsh climate.
As the leaders of South Sudan — one of the poorest countries in the world — begin to build this new nation, they face a daunting task. In rural Duk County, where until five years ago most people had never received medical care of any kind, the John Dau Foundation is leading the way.
Learn more about Aid for Africa members providing medical assistance in Sub Saharan Africa.