Building South Sudan's health workforce
In 1998, Amref Health Africa opened the Maridi Health Science Institute in South Sudan while the country was still in the middle of a civil war. At the time, the area that is now known as South Sudan, with a population of almost six million people, depended on less than 100 trained health workers for care. We opened the institute to help South Sudan rebuild its entire health system from the ground up and train the health workers it desperately needed. Tuition is free for all students, ensuring the best health outcome for the African country.
Today, Amref Health Africa has trained 80% of mid-level professional health workers currently working in South Sudan — an African health success story we are very proud of. The institute has since expanded and now includes Maridi Girls’ Boarding School – a high school for girls interested in pursuing careers as health workers. The all-girls high school was created to encourage more girls to complete their education and enter the health work force. In South Sudan, only four out of 10 girls complete middle school due to factors such as poverty, the lack of school facilities, and early marriage.
Meet Kiko. At 27, she is a former student of Maridi where she studied from 2012 to 2014. As soon as she graduated, Kiko went to work as a midwife in Wau, a remote area in northwest South Sudan. There she was able to provide care to mothers living in under-served rural communities.
Now, she works at Torit Teaching Hospital near Juba, South Sudan’s capital city. The maternity unit at Torit Teaching Hospital is brand new but it is already assisting up to 15 new mothers every day. The maternity ward is grateful for having Kiko. When we visited her, she was assisting a new mother of twins and her support and presence clearly relieved the new mother’s many worries.
Kiko is very grateful for the opportunities that opened up for her through Maridi and Amref Health Africa: “I am really very happy with Amref Health Africa. Amref completely transformed my life. Without the Maridi school where they covered all my costs, I could never have even dreamt of becoming a midwife and being able to help my people.”