The Pieri project is slowly turning into little Canada. Our base nurse Sue is from Alberta, our new technical logistician Peter is from Nova Scotia, I’m from Toronto, and our new outreach nurse Jodi is from the Windsor region. The MSF outreach nurses are, in my opinion, the true superstars of the work we are doing in southern Sudan. For the most part these nurses who travel and work in pairs move through the most inaccessible regions of Sudan. Every 10 days, Uriah, our Liberian nurse and Jodi trade in the luxury of an MSF mud hut for just mud and—during the rainy season—routinely hike up to 10 hours a day through dark and dirty terrain that would test the valor of any person.
The healthcare MSF’s outreach nurses provide is basic to be sure, but basic medical care saves lives and our outreach team is on the frontlines of this work. During the malaria season (November – January) for example, simple Paracheck testing to determine if a patient has malaria, medication and a mosquito net can be the difference between life and death for a countless number of people in southern Sudan. Over the past month nearly one half of our suspected malaria patients have tested positive, and the numbers continue to soar. I’m not going to bore you with the specifics regarding the various strains of malaria but like everything else in Sudan, the malaria that our patients contract is the deadliest in the world.
What can be said to people who could work anywhere in the world as nurses but instead choose to sacrifice basic comforts, and in some cases their own health, to tent through remote regions of a forgotten land to help people most in need?
I suppose thank-you Uriah, and thank-you Jodi is a good place to start!
Salutations from the south,