These projects are in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), emergency relief (the supplying of food and non-food items), human rights (e.g. the provision of support to prisoners), environmental remediation (research on oil production and its consequences) and health care.
Sign of Hope maintains Primary Health Care Centres in Rumbek, Lakes State, and Nyal, Unity State. These PHCCs help satisfy urgent needs for basic medical treatment.
Commissioned in May, 2012, the PHCC is located in Matangai Payam, Rumbek Centre County, Lakes State. Its area of service comprises some 75,000 people. The PHCC features an out-patient department and antenatal services, laboratory as well as a pharmacy unit and:
- maintains a wide-range immunisation program (comprising primarily vaccinations obviating the outbreak of such highly-contagious diseases as tetanus, polio, measles)
- maintains a laboratory conducting tests for such endemic diseases as malaria, typhoid, syphilis and urinary tract infections
- maintains a centre counselling and testing people afflicted with serious diseases
- supplies the medications prescribed by qualified personnel
- runs a nutrition program feeding children under five years old.
The number of patients served by the Rumbek PHCC has been increasing strongly over the past few years. This rise has been caused by crises like tribal conflicts and socio-economic issues. These have left local residents more susceptible to illness. The increase is also attributable to the high quality of care provided by Sign of Hope's personnel at the PHCC and to its availability of medications. The outpatient unit treats an average of 70 persons a day and thus some 2,000 persons a month. These patients are primarily women (aged 15 years and older) and young children (up to five years old).
Sign of Hope's operation of the PHCC is governed by the memorandum of understanding concluded with the state's ministry of health. This memorandum, which has been repeatedly renewed, gives a strong indication of the ministry's appreciation of the work of the PHCC.
Commissioned in 2013, the Primary Health Care Centre in Nyal was the successor to Sign of Hope's facility in Duong Payam, which is located 20 minutes away from Nyal. Both are situated in Panyijar County in Unity State. As the only health care centre in the area, the PHCC serves some 50,000 people per year, and is comprised of the:
- in-patient department (minor surgical procedures and dressings, teeth extraction, eye and ear irrigation)
- out-patient department
- antenatal clinic
The PHCC provides preventive and curative care. The former is targeted at malnourished children less than five years old and at pregnant and other women of childbearing age. The preventive care takes the form of an expanded immunisation programme and of health awareness outreaches to communities. The curative care comprises the laboratory-based diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses.
As has been the case in Rumbek, the number of patients in Nyal PHCC has been increasing over the past few years, with the monthly number rising from 2,700 in 2013 to more than 3,000 today. An influx of people displaced from surrounding areas caused this number to spike on occasion to 4,000.
Sign of Hope's PHCC is widely used and accepted by the people in Nyal.
Sign of Hope has been offering humanitarian aid to people in distress, especially those who have been displaced by conflict or affected by natural disaster. Since the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in late 2013, Sign of Hope, in collaboration with local partners, has distributed food and non-food items in four states in South Sudan including Lakes, Unity, Upper Nile and Western Bahr El Ghazal. The focus of Sign of Hope’s emergency relief has been primarily targeted towards the provision of food and non-food items to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) during this period. However, additional support provided includes the provision of emergency healthcare services and WASH education to IDPs in Rumbek, Lakes State and Nyal, Unity State.
'WASH' stands for water, sanitation and hygiene. It is the lack of these needs that makes communities vulnerable to illness and privation. Sign of Hope turns vulnerability into robustness by drilling wells whose depth ensures that their water is palatable, and by repairing broken hand pumps. The commissioning of the wells and the recommissioning of the pumps are preceded by conducting community training ensuring the wells' sustainable use and maintenance.
Since 2014, Sign of Hope has drilled and equipped nine deep boreholes. Each yields an average of 10,000 litres of water a day to its community, all of which are located in Unity state. In 2015, Sign of Hope conducted a rapid impact WASH project in Rumbek and Yirol in Lakes State. The project comprised the setting up and repairing of centralised systems providing water to some 7,500 persons.
Sign of Hope has ambitious plans for 2016, in which it plans to repair 20 of 70 broken-down hand pumps in Cueibet County, Lakes State. This area has been suffering inter-communal violence between clans and sub-clans from the Dinka ethnic group.
Sign of Hope is working to improve the human rights situation in South Sudan. The organisation together with the Catholic diocese of Rumbek has launched a project in Rumbek Central Prison, where both convicts and mentally ill people are detained. The project provides the inmates with food and non-food items. It also trains staff in the treatment of the mentally ill, with this comprising the provision of psycho-pharmaceuticals. This partnership has recently been expanded. In 2016, Sign of Hope forged a working relationship with the St. Bakhita Health Centre. This cooperation encompasses the treatment of the mentally ill in Rumbek Central Prison and in Yei County, which is located in South Sudan's Central Equatorial State. In addition to the above activities, Sign of Hope is active on the political level. It serves as an advocate for the rule of law in South Sudan, and for the abolition of the death sentence.
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