Bor Medical Camp

Author(s): Moses Gak Rech

Doctor of Medicine from High Institute of Medical Sciences of Havana, Cuba. Currently Medical Officer, Kurmuk Hospital, Southern Blue Nile State, Sudan.

In November 2010 I took part in a 7-day Regional Medical Camp in Bor town, South Sudan. This was the 4th medical camp organized by the University of Calgary as part of the SSHARE (Southern Sudan Healthcare Accessibility, Rehabilitation and Education) Project – see Box.

As those of us working in South Sudan know, our country has some of the highest child and maternal mortality rates in the world. So it was particularly useful that in this Camp we focused on Maternal and Child Health.

Our guest instructors were Dr John Arraf and Dr Lanice Jones from the University of Calgary, and Dr Martin Maring (obstetrics/gynaecology) and Dr Louis Danga (paediatrician) from the Juba Teaching Hospital.    Those attending included nine of us in the Sudanese Physician Reintegration Program as well as medical colleagues from Bor State Hospital (see Figure 1).  We spent the mornings at the hospital doing paediatric rounds, surgery, and out-patient clinics.  During the afternoons we were in the classroom with hands-on teaching and seminars. Among the most useful skills we learnt were: basic ultrasound skills, comprehensive care of paediatric patients and antenatal care (see Figures 2 and 3).


Figure 1: Members of the group at the camp

Figure 2: Drs Louis Danga and Moses Rech on a paediatric ward round at Bor Hospital

Figure 3: Dr Martin Maring teaching ultrasound skills

SSHARE: Southern Sudan Healthcare Accessibility, Rehabilitation and Education Project 

In the mid-1980s I was one of the 600 hundred South Sudanese refugee children from Etang refuguee camp in Ethiopia who were sent to Cuba. Here a group of us trained as physicians. Due to the changing political climate in Cuba and the war in Sudan, we were unable to go home. We were resettled in Canada, but remained determined to return to South Sudan to serve as doctors.  However we had never practiced medicine so our medical skills needed to be upgraded and adapted to the conditions in South Sudan.

For this reason the Sudanese Physician Reintegration Program was set up consisting of a 9-month academic medical upgrading programme at the University of Calgary and a subsequent 12-month Residency Training in various mission hospitals in Kenya. Continuing Medical Education is being provided by medical camps in South Sudan, workshops, seminars and long-distance learning opportunities, and provision of medical education resources.

All of us in this programme are now working in hospitals and clinics throughout Jongelei , Central Equatoria, Upper Nile and Blue Nile States.

The SSHARE project is managed by the University of Calgary, Canada with support from CIDA and in partnership with Samaritan's Purse Canada.