Mother of Mercy Hospital

In the remote Nuba Mountains is a facility that shines as a beacon of hope. Mother of Mercy Hospital in Gidel, Sudan – the only hospital for a 300-mile radius – serves a population of more than 1.5 million people, across a territory equal in size to the country of Austria.

A Sudan Relief Fund sponsored facility, Mother of Mercy reaches marginalized people living in extreme poverty with first-world skilled healthcare they would otherwise not be able to access.

Lack of skilled healthcare is a tragic plight throughout Sudan and South Sudan, and it’s not unusual for desperate patients to traverse great distances, sometimes hundreds of miles, under incredibly difficult conditions to reach the kind of help they can find here.

Missionary doctor Tom Catena directs the hospital and serves year after year as the only surgeon. He sees up to 500 patients in a single day. He works seven days a week, and he’s on call every night in case of emergencies.

“Dr. Tom” is a local hero who has helped so many people over the years that he’s known in the area as “the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.” When he first visited the region in 2008, his heart was so moved that he couldn’t forget the tremendous need he saw. Shortly after, he helped establish Mother of Mercy Hospital to serve the massive need for healthcare in the Nuba Mountains.

Dr. Tom is characterized by his indomitable spirit and unyielding commitment to help the people he came to serve. When a brutal civil war broke out in Sudan, Dr. Tom determined to stay to help people who needed medical treatment – even when all other humanitarian organizations left due to the severity of the danger involved.

Dr. Tom has endured bombing raids on his hospital and home, bouts of malaria and tuberculosis, and long periods of isolation when effects of the war kept humanitarian aid from being delivered – all because of his dedication to serve in this remote and unreached region of the world.

Thanks to partners and supporters, Mother of Mercy Hospital is equipped with updated operating facilities where the hospital performs over 2,000 surgeries and treats more than 75,000 patients every year.

Mother of Mercy Hospital also offers maternity care – a service that is sadly a rarity in this region where mother/infant mortality in childbirth is among the highest in the world. Mother of Mercy is addressing that statistic. Over 500 women each year experience safe and successful deliveries thanks to wellness checkups and medically supervised deliveries or C-sections in the maternity ward.

Each year through gifts from our supporters, partnerships, and matching grants, Sudan Relief Fund supplies nearly all the medicines for Dr. Tom to continue his lifesaving work at Mother of Mercy Hospital. Over the years, our donors also helped facilitate numerous improvements and additions to the hospital. Recently through donor support the hospital opened a new delivery ward and an expanded operating theater, added a dedicated children’s ward, and constructed a chapel.

Part of Dr. Tom’s vision has been to establish satellite clinics throughout the Nuba Mountains to give people living in remote areas closer access to medical treatment. The clinics dispense medicines to treat common ailments, and provide a variety of basic medical services that save patients lengthy and difficult trips across many miles to reach Mother of Mercy. Each year donors play a critical role to generously provide the medicines that make it possible for these clinics to perform their outreach.

Dr. Tom also recognizes the dire need for more medical professionals to serve the vast population of Nuba. With this in mind, he recently established the St. Bakhita Health Institute, to raise up qualified medical technicians who could staff the satellite clinics and provide basic healthcare services across the region. 

Trainees come to work at Mother of Mercy hospital, learning beside the legendary Dr. Tom Catena, on the frontlines of the medical effort in this challenging region of Sudan. In addition to Mother of Mercy Hospital, the expansion clinics and training institute are a significant part of Dr. Tom’s legacy to bring the gift of healthcare to people in tremendous need.

For his incredible and selfless commitment, Dr. Tom has been the recipient of numerous humanitarian awards, the subject of documentaries, and even had a stamp issued in his honor. But his only mission is to keep serving and saving lives in the Nuba Mountains.

As he said poignantly, “People may say what we’re doing is just a drop in the ocean. But when you’re there, you don’t see a drop in the ocean. You see a person. You see a life.”

In April of 2023, a new war began raging in the capital city of Sudan that is expanding throughout the country. Many fled to the Nuba Mountains to seek safety, as millions were forced to leave their homes. Already Mother of Mercy has seen increased numbers of patients arriving as the conflict reaches closer to Nuba. No stranger to treating waves of injured victims in wartime and working around the clock to push through emergencies, Dr. Tom and his team brace for the demand on the hospital that has already in part begun.

More than ever, we thank you for partnering with us to support Mother of Mercy Hospital. It is your commitment that helps us continue to save lives and support Dr. Tom’s critical work in this desperate and forgotten part of the world.

Lives Saved Through Your Donations