We clinic by faith
By Tohru Inoue | South Sudan in East Africa
A doctor consults at the Doro Clinic. Photo by Neil Sandoz.
“Our clinic has always operated by faith. God has always provided.”
The words of Doro clinic’s doctor who, after six years at the helm is being moved by God into a new chapter. Simple words, but true.
The clinic has always been a project too big for its shoes. We've always felt like we were biting off more than we could chew. Running medical work in conflict ridden South Sudan is… well… ambitious.
When SIM arrived back in Southern Sudan following the peace agreement in 2005, the old SIM buildings were still occupied by the army. Fresh off the heels of a 20-year civil war, the soldiers were well entrenched. Most buildings were destroyed and the ones remaining were at a premium. The military were not going to want to relinquish them. The church prayed and negotiated and managed to reclaim it from the military. That was only the first step.
Funds were raised to repair broken structures. An outpatient department was put together. A pharmacy and toilet blocks were added as the Lord provided funds. A leprosy department, a nutrition village, a maternity department all went up.
But then, there were the staffing needs…
Refugees were returning to a post-conflict country. There weren’t any qualified medical personnel, so the team had to train community health workers from people who had basic literacy and numeracy. The team mobilised medical mission workers: doctors and nurses.
As the clinic grew, keeping up with all the new financial and staffing needs would be the next challenge. The surrounding population increased and so did the clinic’s reputation. With the increase in patients, so also the finances had to grow to keep it all going. It’s resource intensive. It felt like every year was a struggle to make ends meet.
Then there’s the challenge of getting people to this field. South Sudan is, and always has been, a tough environment. The temperatures are high, there are many critters and there is always the low hum of simmering insecurities. Refugee versus host community conflicts flare up occasionally: intertribal conflicts, and even armed military conflicts. Add to all that the seasonal flooding and subsequent food insecurity and you have a recipe for a testing field.
But, as our departing clinic doctor spoke, there was serenity in her voice. Like she was saying, “What are you so surprised about? This whole thing has been a faith activity. How many times have we considered seeing our last patient, tidying up our desk, closing the doors, locking up and calling it quits? But God has kept everything going by an act of grace.”
We’re still in Doro because God wants us in Doro.
From getting the land over fifteen years ago to now treating tens of thousands of patients a year, every step has been made by our faith and the continuing mercy of God.
That’s the only way we know how to do this. We clinic by faith.
•That we continue with faith to carry on.
•That the team would continue to keep trusting God.
•That God would provide the staff and finances needed.