Training Health Professionals in a War Environment


Photo: A Left: A sign outside the chapel on the campus of the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, South Sudan. Right: The chapel on the campus of the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, South Sudan (GSR photo / Chris Herlinger)

Indian Sr. Leema Rose is a member of the Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit and heads the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, South Sudan, where she oversees a nursing training program for certified nurses and midwives.

The institute, which goes by the acronym CHTI, is one of the key projects of the church-based humanitarian alliance Solidarity with South Sudan and works on behalf of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference. The institute trains health professionals who, it notes, "are inspired by a Christian vision of the dignity of the human person and the values of respect, compassion and justice." Below is the transcript of Sr. Leema's interview with Chris Herlinger, international correspondent of Global Sisters Report.

GSR: What kind of toll has the war taken on the institute and its students?

Rose: The resilience of South Sudanese is very strong, though often, people think they are stronger than their problems. And the problems are serious: War affects people mentally, and some who are very vulnerable, who have left homes in their villages, are stranded on roads with nowhere to go. There are no facilities to help those harmed. Unlike India, there is not a system of good municipal hospitals where
they could receive treatment. the basic facilities - those are not here.

We are here, but we often come up against the realities of the country. Sr. Veronika Terezia Rackova (a Slovak member of the Holy Spirit Mission Congregation who was killed by South Sudanese soldiers last year in a case still under investigation) started a medical unit to help people coping with mental problems. But after she died, it closed. In (the war-affected city of) Malakal, the Salesian communities worked so hard to establish medical facilities. One sister in particular put her heart and soul into establishing a facility and then it was destroyed. It became a kind of lost hope....

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