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August 2008 Newsletter page 1
Update from the Sudan Medical Relief Project
OLD FANGAK: THE LAND OF CHALLENGES
THE COW: The pride of the Nuer - perhaps a
bride price... And with transport.
The comprehensive peace agreement of 9 January 2005 stopped the civil war between the political North of Sudan and the political South of Sudan - a war that, but for 11 years of tenuous peace, had spanned all 48 years since independence in 1956. Deaths from combat continued in Old Fangak for another year after the treaty was signed.
This past year was remarkable, with so few deaths related to combat, and so much hope for the future. Yet what does the mind use to fuel its dreams, when daily life remains one of constant struggle? Rural Sudanese barely have a glimpse of what could be in terms of sanitation, potable water, reliable food supply, schooling, good government, internet or a functional communication system.
A trader from Darfur -
safe in Old Fangak - with the largest shop.
With the coming of peace, boats can ply the river, bringing supplies. A market sprang up in Fangak. You can buy food and a few consumer goods, which has not been the case for decades! Prices on that food have quadrupled in the past year. But people enjoy wandering through the market, just to sight-see and socialize. Life without battles, gunships, and bombings is—I guess you could call it peaceful.
WE CAN DO IT!
Sjoukje deWit, the Dutch nurse practitioner who helped start this program, was back at work with Jill when we heard that COSV, the aid agency with oficial funding for primary health care and TB treatment in Fangak, was closing their program to new TB patients. We’ll never know their internal issues. Sjoukje and Jill looked at each other and said, “We can do it!” without a second thought. We re-opened admissions, and by February were completely responsible for the program. You can imagine what that did to our budget.
Kong with sputum positive TB -
resting after the work of swallowing his TB tablets.
We have always said that we are a faith-based organization, although not religiously afiliated. We have faith that our amazing supporters will rise to the occasion, as you did. THANKS!
This change fortunately coincided with the return of our clinical oficer, Peter Sunduk. We funded Peter through 3 years of schooling. In March, he completed his internship with Doctors without Borders.
Welcome Home Sunduk!
Clincal Officer Peter Sunduk
Alas, we had another kala azar outbreak this year. Kala aza is spread by the bite of the sand fly at the start of the rainy season. It mostly affects (and often kills) young children. Those who survive childhood have usually survived kala azar, and are then immune to it. Kala azar is the disease that irst brought Jill and Sjoukje to Sudan almost 20 years ago. The primary treatment has remained 30 daily injections of a heavy metal, antimony. But the antimony compound from our high quality/low cost Indian producers ran out. Through the WHO, we now acquire a French version from Sanoi-Aventis. For the sickest of the sick we use AmBisome, now produced by Gilead Sciences. It is sold at cost to MSF, then donated to us.
355 PATIENTS TREATED FOR KALA AZAR:
88% children under 15 years old.