14 trainees celebrate completion of their training in May 2011. Front left is Ryo KAKUTANI, AAR staff.
14 Public Health Workers Created in South Sudan
4-Year Training Concludes
AAR JAPAN has been working in the city of Lafon in Eastern Equatoria, at the eastern end of South Sudan, where no health care centers or medical services are available. In cooperation with UNHCR (The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), AAR JAPAN built 3 health centers in the area in 2007. While management of the facilities was then meant to be handed over to the local administration , no health workers could be found to staff the centers. In response, AAR JAPAN trained local health workers, instructing them in basic techniques for medical examinations, first aid, and medicine management, as well as aiding in the transport of medical supplies.
AAR JAPAN’s training followed the guidelines of the (then) southern Sudan government’s 9-month public health workers’ training program. The trainees rely on farming and agriculture to sustain themselves, making it impossible for them to take a continuous 9-month training program, since they are needed to work during the busy seasons. In order to meet their needs, AAR JAPAN divided the training into several sessions over 4 years.
In May 2011, the trainees completed the program and held a graduation ceremony, where two representatives of the local county office handed out certificates to each graduate.
As public health workers, the graduates will not only give medical care, but will also offer medical education to the local people. One aspect of the training included surveying the women in nearby villages, where it was discovered that only a quarter of them knew that malaria was the main cause of death in their region.
Many clinics have been left derelict for lack of health care workers to maintain them. This project, which included not only building a medical clinic, but also providing a training program for workers to staff it, represents a success story for medical improvement in South Sudan, and AAR JAPAN will recommend the newly-independent government of South Sudan make room for such programs in its policies.
Trainee representative Daniel Ohyucholmoi (28)
I was really glad to be able to finish training, and I want to use the skills I gained to provide better medical services for the local people. The 14 trainees all came from different regions, and although I had never seen them before training, they are now my friends. Here there’s often interregional fighting over water and livestock, and I think the simple fact of young people gathering together and having friendly relationships is going to be extremely beneficial for the future. I thank AAR JAPAN for giving us this opportunity.
※AAR JAPAN carried out this project through individual donations and a grant from Japan Platform.