St. Theresa Hospital Brings Healthcare to Those Without

Providing a Safe Haven for Mothers to Celebrate New Life

Healthcare in South Sudan is nonexistent or not accessible to the majority of the population. An infected cut can be a death sentence. Curable sickness often goes untreated. Without basic medicines, these sicknesses become fatal.

New life – that moment when a child comes into the world – should be a time of celebration and joy. Not a time a woman fears for her life. Tragically, South Sudan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth. A girl here has a greater chance of dying in childbirth than completing high school.

A harrowing number of women – and girls way too young to be mothers – still have no other option but to give birth on dirt floors in the villages or countryside. They labor in unsanitary conditions and without medical supervision.

South Sudan Healthcare Crisis at a Glance

  • 1 in 10 children will die before their fifth birthday
  • The childbirth mortality rate is one of the worst in the world
  • There is one doctor for every 65,000 people, one midwife for every 39,000 women
  • Nearly 75% of all child deaths in South Sudan are from preventable conditions
  • Due to war and poor healthcare, an estimated 50,000 people suffer from a severe physical disability

Says a report from UNICEF,

“Giving birth on the floor, cutting the umbilical cord with a stick – that is the reality for some women in South Sudan.”

Given these conditions, the ghastly mortality rate isn’t astonishing. Nor is it tolerable. Most of these deaths are preventable with proper maternity and neonatal care.

Finding Help at St. Theresa Hospital

St. Theresa Hospital in Nzara shines as a success story fighting these statistics. Every day this critical facility stands as an outpost of hope for some 300,000 people, serving the southwestern region of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic.

People come to St. Theresa Hospital to find help that’s not available to them anywhere else. Administered by a religious order of nuns called the Comboni Sisters, a small but highly dedicated staff operates nonstop to serve the overwhelming needs of the region. To expand lifesaving efforts, Sudan Relief Fund partners with the CMMB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) to bring critically needed medical care to the people. Thanks to support from donors, the hospital now has an operating theater, a maternity ward, and a blood bank – features one would expect to find in a normal hospital, but are rare in South Sudan.

Saving Mothers and Babies

One of the hospital’s priorities is tackling the challenge of inadequate healthcare for mothers and babies. Partnering with CMMB, the Safe Motherhood Project is dedicated to providing a safe environment for mothers to give birth, and offers follow-up care for infants during their first weeks of life.

Letasha is a young mother who knows the difference it makes to receive maternity care. At eight months pregnant, she began to feel very sick. When she came for help, she was diagnosed with malaria, and an ultrasound exam discovered internal bleeding. These were treatable conditions that would often lead to death for pregnant mothers in South Sudan. But because of prompt medical intervention, she and her unborn child avoided a deadly scenario. “I was very lucky,” she said. “I could have lost my life.”

At St. Theresa Hospital, mothers-to-be receive checkups, supervised delivery by qualified medical professionals, and follow-up care after birth for mother and baby. In the event of complications, St. Theresa is equipped to provide C-sections to protect mothers and infants in those times when every second counts.

This developing program is only possible because of you. Demand for these services that save lives of women and infants is on the rise. The Safe Motherhood Project has seen a 94% increase in first-time prenatal care. The number of births occurring in a safe medical environment have tripled. There is an overwhelming demand for these services, but not enough resources to provide them.

While the Safe Motherhood Project is helping as many as possible, there are many more women and girls in need. With your support we can continue turning the tide on the epidemic of childbirth mortality in South Sudan. No young woman should die on a dirt floor in childbirth.

Your contributions mean the difference between life and death for women and girls giving birth in South Sudan. There is no government support here to help them. No social healthcare programs to offer them sanitary conditions or safe environments.

Will you please join in this fight and help us reach more women and girls with safe deliveries?

Imagine if you were a mother all alone when it was time to bring your unborn baby into the world. It would be terrifying to face that reality without qualified medical support.

Many are fortunate to have these resources readily available. But most people in South Sudan do not. Orphanages here are filled with children whose mothers died in childbirth. We do not believe such a tragedy is acceptable. The cycle continues until we stop it. Which is precisely what the Safe Motherhood Program at St. Theresa’s Hospital can do with your help.

Changing lives one mother and baby at a time, we can fight this tragedy together, and continue to grow the availability of maternal and neonatal services to women in South Sudan. Please join us in supporting this lifesaving work. Each life of a mother and baby saved is a precious and beautiful victory.

Neil A. Corkery


Neil A. Corkery President

PS – Please remember the people of Nzara in need of medical care, especially mothers and children. Thank you for your prayers, and every gift you choose to share to provide critical medical services many of us take for granted.

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