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Sign of relief for Juba orphanage as Chinese medics come knocking

By Paul Jimbo

Their well-tuned voices secretly collaborated in their favourite songs and choruses to project an image of a people with a purpose to live life fully and to see another day.

Driving past the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in Juba’s leafy suburb of Hai-Cinema, the tunes grew louder and louder to confirm we were honouring our invitation to Confident Children’s Out of Conflict home (CCC).

And when the heavily manned gate flashed open, we drove into their busy compound measuring almost half-an-acre, the children of varied ages and in their own traditional ways paraded themselves to usher in a team of Chinese medical personnel.

The team had arrived in a bus, yet another demonstration of their common mission to the children’s home.

The 9th batch team of the Chinese medics was visiting the children’s home to donate some goodies including food supplements, sports kits and more significantly carry out routine medical tests on their hosts.

Confident Children Out of Conflict home boasts of hosting more than 60 children from diverse background, the common denominator among them is to have some roof over their heads, find livelihood and protection. The home keeps them away from the greedy eyes and intentions of perpetrators of all sorts of violence against children.

Hellen Boro is the Director for Confident Children Out of Conflict home. She strode towards the Chinese medics, clasping her phone in her hands before she heartedly said, “Welcome to our home, we feel blessed to have you here today”.

A ray of home flashed across her broad face as she struggled to wipe undeterred sweat rolling down her cheeks, a clear confirmation of effects of Juba’s traditional backing heat.

A Chinese medical lady playing with kids during the visit. Their charity in South Sudan has provided health relief to thousands of people suffering from various ailments. (Photo by Ruot George)

“Most of these children are orphans, some are survivors of different forms of domestic violence including forced and early marriages,” Hellen said as she pointed at the children receiving biscuits and glucose from the Chinese medics.

The team comprises of paediatricians, operation room technicians, surgeons, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT)specialists, Laboratory technicians, Imagery technicians and Internal medics.

They are changing the face of health provision in the African nation.

Their charity in South Sudan has provided health relief to thousands of people suffering from various ailments.

Confident Children Out of Conflict was started in 1999 by local volunteers who sought to rescue children from the streets. It was founded by a Dutch lady called Cathy who sought to keep the children out of the streets. They were mainly scavenging for food in dustbins and heaps of garbage in Juba City.

Cathy approached the Episcopal Church of South Sudan for a space and her wish was granted. Though the initial plan was to host less than 40 destitute children, the overwhelming numbers of street children compelled the founders of the home to admit more number. Today the home hosts more than 60 children aged between six months and 18 years.

Hellen stepped into the shoes of Cathy when the later returned to her home country four years ago. She had worked as a government officer between 2005 and 2015 when she was retrenched.

Born in a family of eight children in Abedi village, Yei River County, Hellen, currently in her 60s says her journey to keep the children’s home intact had had its own fair share of challenges.

Some of these children suffer from chronic diseases including epilepsy and HIV/Aids.

“Some of these children are rescued from abductions, separation, early marriages, forced marriages, IDPs and refugees. They need protection,” says Hellen as she assists the Chinese medics in triages.

Well-wishers including World Vision, Save the Children, UNICEF and 

 “The good thing is that UNICEF drilled a borehole at the home and this provided a permanent solution to our water needs. We received $3,000 monthly from a partner to take care of our operations and bills; we also received medicine, clothing and food stuff including milk, lentils, bread and even eggs from partners. This is what gives us hope to live on,” Hellen narrates.

Hellen says as she points at one of the children carrying a packet of glucose brought by the Chinese medical team. She says her experience in dealing with destitute children denies her any temptations to shy away from seeking help to ensure the children have something to eat.

CCC as its commonly known, plans to relocate to a new site in December, according to Hellen. They have acquired some spacious site away from the busy, tormenting and noisy Juba City environs.

 “It has been more than 10 year and we than the church for accommodating us, it is that time that we need to move on. We also hope the number of children will reduce as the society slowly begins to understand the significance of child protection,” she says with deep emphasis, her face swallowed in her thoughts and dreams.

Dr Ding Zheng is the team leader for the 15-member strong Chinese medical team. The team is composed of 13 medical specialists and two support staff.

The team from Anhui province of the People’s Republic of China is the 9th batch of medical specialists and part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Chinese Government and the Government of South Sudanese Government.

Their mandates are strictly on medical cooperation and are based at the Juba Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Chinese medical doctors checking the health of a child at an orphanage home in Juba. Their charity in South Sudan has provided health relief to thousands of people suffering from various ailments. (Photo by Ruot George)

According to Zheng, the team already visited Paloch, Torit and Rumbek as part of their medical outreach mission.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we scaled down our plans but we will resume soon. We work closely with local doctors and nurses with an aim of raising their capacities to handle complicated clinical cases including medical operations,” Zheng says.

“We are here to improve friendship with the community in Juba, we have donations including milk and some nutritional supplements for the children. Some seem to have developed some fever and that is the reason we are hosting a medical camp here to establish any health related conditions,” Zheng says as he nods his head.

He says South Sudan has high prevalence cases of Malaria, skin problems, Pneumonia and Tuberculosis.

“We have a case of an 11-year-old boy whose leg requires a skin transplant but that cannot be done here. A snake spat venom on his leg and the leg has been rotting, all we can do is to manage the wound but that is not a permanent solution to the problem, he needs urgent specialised medical attention,” Zheng says with a lot of concerns painted on his face.

The Chinese medics are funded by their government and do not charge any fees for their services including building the capacities of their local teams.

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