Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
Every action has unattended consequences. The Republic of South Sudan gains its independence in July. The border between the north and south tightens up. Supplies become more expensive and take longer to arrive. And that means it's been a a struggle for us to paint our clinic walls. Finally the paint is available:

and local workers are getting the job done.

We are persistent!

Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
Once we saw the photos of the midwife training at our clinic, we wondered what was happening on a day-to-day basis there. Back in October 2010, before the building was even plastered, we had patients arriving and the delivery of medicine by the Ministry of Health. What was going on in 2011?

Medicine delivered to the clinic in October 2010

Our treasurer Ron Moulton recently spoke to our field manager Yel Maduok Ngor about the clinic use. Ron reports that a part-time health worker is distributing the medicines provided by the Ministry of Health. Patients are coming "for the basic things: malaria and diarrhea, plus women are using the clinic to get iron supplements during pregnancy."

As with many VHSS projects, the clinic is starting small and growing under local leadership. We remember when, the last time the stateside directors visited Wunlang, a clinic was a dream; thanks to our supporters, it is now a reality. We'll keep you posted on how health care in this remote part of South Sudan expands.

Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
It wasn't quite nine months, but it was a long gestation from the time the good of people of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Arlington, assembled more than 250 midwife kits to the time they arrived, by ship, in East Africa. From there they traveled, slowly, to Juba, then to Aweil, and then finally to Wunlang.

And finally, they were unloaded in our new clinic.

Midwife kits unloaded at Wunlang Clinic, South Sudan

These kits consist of a towel, washcloth, and a bedsheet for the mother in labor; a receiving blanket, T-shirt, and hat for the newborn baby; and soap, gloves, a razor, and ties for the umbilical cord for the midwife. When Ron visited the traditional birth attendants in 2009, they were eager to receive these supplies and training in its use.

And we have a trainer -- Angong Kuol, who learned herself as a refugee in Nairobi. She planned a seven-day training session. Here she is in the foreground of this photo, teaching in our clinic:

Midwife training in Wunlang Clinic

We have heard from other sources that South Sudanese TBAs possess skills have that been lost in Western medicine, especially with delivering breech births and other difficult presentations. Nevertheless, rates of death in childbirth of and infant mortality are high in South Sudan. We're happy to provide our TBAs an opportunity to keep mothers and babies healthy and safe.

The traditional birth attendants of Wunlang, South Sudan.

Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
What does the new Republic of South Sudan need?

Well-designed and -constructed clinics:

Paid employment and skill-building for men and women:

Building upon the exhilarating hope for the future.

Work on the clinic paused during the referendum, but with that historic vote completed, it's time to complete this job. We'll send more photos as they become available.

Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
Remember the midwife kits assembled by the good people of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Arlington? Remember when they left the United States on a boat to East Africa?

The kits were assembled in mid-June 2010, and left the Port of Boston at the end of June. It was indeed a slow boat; the last time we checked, the boat was near South Africa.

But now the kits have arrived in Juba, and we are making arrangements to ship them to Wunlang.

Most activity in town has been centered around the voting in referendum; the arrival of the midwife kits will be a kick-start to completing work on our clinic. We'll send you photos as soon as we can.
Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
On behalf of Village Help for South Sudan, Director Ron Moulton has submitted an entry for consideration in a global public health competition sponsored by the Amgen Foundation called "Patients - Choices - Empowerment." The entry "Village Public Health Presentation and Performance Team" describes our concept for improving health literacy through teams of engaged citizens in remote villages in southern Sudan.

Here is a link to the entry:

Three winners will be awarded $10,000.00 to promote their work. Changemakers and their competitions help organizations like ours introduce new solutions, social entrepreneurs, and developing communities to the world. Our entry in the "Patients - Choices - Empowerment" competition is all about villagers elevating their voices to improve their health outcomes.

We cannot win this competition, or even be selected as a finalist, without the help of people like you who know about our work and value our approaches to community development through the efforts of villagers themselves.

The best way for you to help is to add a comment to our entry at the link above. Your words will help endorse and validate the concept described and give our entry added visibility to the judges. Just click on "Discuss" then "Add Comment" on our entry's page. You will have to register, but you do not have to fill out a complete profile to comment.

Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
Here is a fantastic picture:

In the center of this picture is a mother and baby, who have come for treatment at our new clinic before it is completely finished. At their feet is a box labeled "GOSS MoH" -- Government of South Sudan Ministry of Health. It is one of the boxes of medicine delivered to Wunlang Clinic by the Government of South Sudan, delivered because we have built our building. On the left, a worker is making a record of the delivery. On the right, a health-care worker who has arrived to treat these early patients is surrounded by more medicine.

Here is one of the boxes of Artesunate Amodiaquine, medicine for malaria treatment.

More medicine -- zinc sulfate for wounds, and Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic with many uses, including the treatment of typhoid fever and infectious diarrhea.

This is all the more remarkable in that our clinic is not quite finished. To open the doors, we need a floor. Right now, our floor is dirt -- unusable in the rainy season, and not the sanitary surface we want even when the ground is dry and hard.

We need about $1000 provide a cement floor so we can open our clinic. We need another $4000 for latrines. The Government of South Sudan and the governor of Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal have shown great faith in by providing medicine even before our clinic is complete. The people are showing up for treatment already. Let's show the leaders and people of Southern Sudan that their faith in us is well placed.

Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
We believe in using appropriate technology, and in the rainy season, the best way to move doors for our clinic from Akuem to Wunlang is by horsecart.

Through the mud ...

... and the tall grass ...

... on the way to Wunlang.
Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
Here's the door Wunlang medical staff will unlock on clinic days:

It was painted in Akuem, a nearby biggish (the buses from Aweil go there) town:

The roof, whose trusses we showed you just a few days ago, is now up:

The windows are being prepared in Akuem also.

It's looking real!
Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
Here is this blogger's favorite photo from the latest update on Wunlang Health Clinic construction:


Angelo Ngong Kiir was settled in Syracuse, New York, as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Now the field director of Village Help for South Sudan, he's back giving back to his community, a place where the big NGOs don't go. His upward glance at the newly rising roof of Wunlang Health Clinic says a lot about rising hope.

Here's another favorite, a little harder to see:

The man in the hat with his back to the camera is holding a handsaw. There's lots of talk in the NGO world about local empowerment; we do it with every project. All our workers are from South Sudan. Not only do we provide paying jobs, but the on-the-job training workers get enables them to make even further progress in their lives. The worker is talking to our field manager Yel Maduok Ngor. Yel has told us many times that he has learned so much about running a successful project from his work with Village Help for South Sudan.

The clinic is an elegant little building.

What's even more remarkable is that it's locally designed. Yel and our carpenter visited an attractive new building in Aweil, walked around, made their observations, and from that designed Wunlang Clinic themselves. We know the presence of a big-name architect can be impressive on a project. But we are much, much happier to give the abundant local talent an opportunity to flourish.

We hear that word is getting out that Wunlang will have a "modern clinic." ("We must get those latrines built!" treasurer Ron Moulton wrote.) We know the people of Wunlang have plans for it already -- to set up training for the arriving midwife kits, and to make sure that medical supplies provided by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF reach the clinic. They are advising nurse Arkangelo Diet and Dr. Luka on the progress of the clinic, and when the time comes, to work with the medical staff on clinic hours. As the roof goes up, so much more is rising, too.

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