The sun is already high above me when I arrive in central Nyala to interview Sister Pierra Santino who runs a clinic supported by CAFOD partner Sudanaid. She greeted me and guided me round the immaculately clean clinic showing me the the waiting room, the area for mothers, laboratory and introducing me to the doctors and staff that she works with.
The clinic in Nyala was established in 1998. “We had a lot of people coming to us for help,” she recalls. From treating 20-30 people per day, the clinic now receives between 120-130 people per day. Sister Pierra tells me of her extensive research and study in order to develop her understanding and knowledge of tropical diseases. Today, the clinic enjoys a good reputation for its treatment of skin diseases and people come from all parts of South Darfur to seek assistance.
Filed under CAFOD, Darfur, Sudan
I have always felt very personally involved with the suffering of the East Timorese people when, after a UN-sponsored referendum in August 1999 had resulted in a massive 78% vote for independence, a terrible wave of violence engulfed the country.
I shared their rejoicing when, following international intervention, East Timor was recognised by the UN as a sovereign state, and so returning to the country for celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the referendum felt very special.
It was my fifth visit since independence, and I had been specially invited to take part in a three-day solidarity conference, as well as bring material for a commemorative exhibition.
The story of four schoolgirls from Bradford who had an idea to combat maternal mortality overseas. This film shows their dream becoming a reality as they travel to Nigeria to meet women who risk their lives through pregnancy and childbirth, and make them a diaper cake. See how their ‘Pack for Mums and Babies’ will save lives
These four school friends wanted to help young mums in Africa – and had an idea which is now set to be a real life-saver as one of our World Gifts.
Find out more about their amazing story
As soon as we got out of the car in the village Ankpa, we were welcomed in the most delightful way, with people swarming out of the healthcare clinic to greet and show their appreciation for us. Everyone seemed so happy to see four young English girls in their village.
As we spent the day in the health clinic in Ankpa, we found out more about the young mothers and how they manage to look after themselves during pregnancy, as they don’t get a lot of help from their family to go through the emotional and physical help pregnant women need.
We asked the mothers what they feel they need most during pregnancy, and the most common answer was a napkin and baby clothes. The mothers told us they were very happy to be having the baby and how the clinic benefits and supports them.
This contrasted hugely with the most emotional experience of the trip. The next day we visited an outreach clinic in Ankpapa. As soon as we arrived, we saw the amount of poverty affecting the area.
Even though I am half Nigerian I have only ever been to the city where things are much better than the places we visited. But visiting Ankpakpa and Ankpa to see where pregnant women and mothers have their check ups was hard.
At Ankpakpa, when we spoke to the mothers, some of them looked frightened to talk to us and we didn’t like how the men were crowding round us. We really just wanted to talk to them one on one but we were attracting so much attention everywhere we went.
Thankfully, it was different when we visited the clinic at Ankpa. We spoke to some mothers and they were all healthy. They were benefiting from the clinic being funded through our packs.