The Buckeye Clinic in Piol South Sudan is a full service clinic for South Twic East County in Jongelei State, South Sudan! Our combined efforts over the past seven year are a reality…and even Beyond our Plans and Dreams. It is a joyous time!In June 2017, an agreement was signed between the Buckeye Clinic and the John Dau Foundation, an experienced provider of health care services in South Sudan for ten years. They will staff and provide maternal and child health and other medical services to people living in Piol and surrounding villages in the area (Pan Piol).
Three days after being hired, the Buckeye Clinic nurse midwife was able to assist a woman in a remote Piol village deliver her newborn boy after three days of unsuccessful labor! And mother and child are doing well! In rural South Sudan, where maternal and child mortality is the highest in the world, our combined efforts are making a visible difference. Wow!
In 2007 Bol Aweng and Jok Dau, former Lost Boys of Sudan, made their first return visit to Piol, their home village, to see their family and friends who they had not seen nor heard from since they were 6 years old. On this trip they learned of the Chief’s and villagers’ desire for better health care for their women and children. Jok and Bol shared this dream and brought so many of us together to
fund-raise and support the establishment of a basic health clinic along with the dream to create a maternal and child health clinic. Together with the support from the South Sudan Ministry of Health and others, we created buildings and solar-powered refrigeration to store vaccinations, hired vaccinator staff and others, distributed medications, provided transport to needed higher levels of care and much more.
Civil War began in 2013 and persists in July 2017, but the maternal and child health clinic dream persisted. During this time of Civil War, the Buckeye Clinic has been purchasing and delivering food so that people could return to the village areas and not suffer starvation in famine stricken South Sudan. A total of 183,000 pounds of food was distributed. Because of war, the South Sudanese Government lacks capacity to support basic health care for its people. However, the John Dau Foundation and Clinic, a successful health services program in a nearby area and a model for the Buckeye Clinic, received financial support from UNICEF, the United Nations Development Fund, and South Sudan Humanitarian Fund to provide maternal and child health care in the Northern, Middle and Southern regions of Twic East County. Negotiations between the Jon Dau Foundation (JDF) and the Buckeye Clinic began in January 2017. The JDF staff visited the Buckeye Clinic, assessed the staff, met with the Chiefs and community members, viewed the facilities and resources, and saw the dedication of the staff who were working despite nine months without pay!
After self-assessment, a review of our mission and vision, and business and fundraising considerations, the Buckeye Clinic and the John Dau Foundation with its grants from the UN, agreed to a contractual plan. We, the Buckeye Clinic, would provide funds for a nurse midwife, a laboratory technician, a Community Health Worker, a Vaccinations Supervisor, a cleaner and a guard, and a one-time $20,000 for startup costs. The John Dau Foundation would fund a clinical officer (physicians assistant), a nurse, a pharmacist, and a data specialist. They would also hire, train, manage and provide staff oversight and manage the clinic using regularly reported data and onsite visits.
WOW! This is Beyond the Plans and Dreams we have had for the Buckeye Clinic. We had hoped to establish a professionally staffed maternal and child health unit with a nurse midwife, a laboratory technician, and some supports. But this arrangement is much more and much better! We have a more professional and administrative staff. We have management capacity with policies, staff position descriptions, training, budgetary and planning capacity, and use of data and on the ground oversight assessment! We have a partner, The John Dau Foundation, which has been a model for our efforts and a trusted colleague over many years. We together have supports from UNICEF and UN Development Programme, South Sudan Humanitarian Fund, and the John Dau Foundation. We continue to have the support of the Piol Community and are pleased with planned outreach efforts, to educate and involve the citizens of the South Twic East County in the provision of services available.
It has been a privilege to be involved with the Buckeye Clinic Steering Committee and Board over the past 8 years and especially to be a participant during these recent negotiations. The real thanks, however, goes to Steve Walker, the President of the Buckeye Clinic and the persistent leader of our efforts during the negotiations and over all these years. We also thank the leadership of the John Dau Foundation: Executive Director, Dan Pisegna, Human Resource Director, John Dau, Clinical Lead Kon John and the John Dau Foundation Board.
Dale Svendsen, MD
Chair, Medical Advisory Committee
Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan
July 2, 2017