The realization of a dream

On Nov 6, 2022, a celebration was held in Lietnhom, South Sudan as the Achiek Women’s Clinic was dedicated to the community. Hundreds of local residents were in attendance to celebrate and recognize the importance of this long awaited event. After several speeches were given and celebration dances were performed, a prayer of dedication was given to commemorate the great occasion and to acknowledge the life change that will come to this community as a result of this incredible gift.

The only doctor within 100 miles.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), South Sudan has just one physician per 65,574 individuals and one midwife per 39,088 population individuals. Overall, South Sudan reports just one-tenth of the number of medical doctors and nurses in comparison to countries such as Kenya.

Preventable conditions plague South Sudan. Nearly 75% of all child deaths in South Sudan are due to preventable conditions such as diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. The prevalence of these and other deadly conditions are major factors in South Sudan’s high infant mortality rates, with 96 infant deaths per 1,000 births.

At the Achiek Women’s Clinic, we are treating both men and women, old and young. All who seek treatment are welcome. The naming of the clinic was set forth to give honor and recognition to those who have suffered most in the absence of skilled medical care. That is unquestionably the women of the community. There are innumerable stories from this region of women who have died in childbirth.

“How ironic that giving life is the leading cause of death for women in South Sudan.”

Meet Angelo

Recipient of our “Leaders Of Tomorrow” Scholarship

In Sept 2016, Angelo Deng enrolled in Kenya Methodist University to pursue a bachelors degree in medicine and surgery to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. Angelo grew up feeling the pain that can result from a lack of skilled medical care. Angelo and his four siblings were sadly orphaned at a very young age. His parents lives were claimed by illnesses that were treatable but a lack of available medicine and skilled care prevented their recovery. This loss was a deep source of pain for Angelo throughout his life but it also grew within him a desire to try to prevent this pain from affecting others.

Angelo was the first recipient to receive funding from our Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship Program. This program seeks to invest in the education of talented youngsters who are lacking the financial means to pursue University level education. Scholarships that are awarded are given with the condition that the recipients must give back to their community with the skills and talents that they have acquired.

In anticipation of Angelo’s graduation from medical school and return to Lietnhom, the members of Solidarity Ministries Africa prayed for clarity around what it would be like for him to serve his community with his new skills and abilities.

Little did we know what would happen next…

Meet Project C.U.R.E.

In February 2021, Cheryl Noe, a board member of SMARD, asked the Board, “Have you ever heard of Project C.U.R.E.?” Cheryl went on to explain how Project C.U.R.E. is the world largest distributor of donated medical equipment and supplies to resource limited communities across the globe. She said that if Solidarity Ministries Africa was to submit an application to Project C.U.R.E., we could be eligible to receive a 40-foot cargo container filled with medical equipment and supplies to help outfit Angelo and the community of Lietnhom.

An application was submitted and after a needs assessment of the region was completed, we were approved. A 40 foot container filled top to bottom with medical supplies and equipment was going to be packed and sent to Lietnhom to help outfit our future medical clinic with much needed resources. This gift from Project C.U.R.E. was valued at $400,000 – $500,000 and would travel by train from Nashville to Charleston SC, by ship from Charleston to Mombasa Kenya and then finally by flatbed truck from Mombasa to Lietnhom, South Sudan. As a board, we were blown away by this gift, but now we needed a functional space to operate as a clinic where all of these supplies could be deployed and patients could come to receive treatment.

Unexpected Generosity

In the Spring of 2021, Fellowship Bible Church (Brentwood, TN) had raised enough money through their “Generous God” teaching series to not only retire their mortgage but also the mortgage of another struggling church in the area that had undergone hardship. The members had given over and above to these two causes and surprisingly, surplus funds still remained. Fellowship Bible Church had asked its members to offer suggestions for how to allocate the surplus funds that had yet to be ear-marked for use and the proposal for a medical clinic in Lietnhom, South Sudan was submitted.

An architect in Juba, South Sudan worked with us to conceive of a design for a medical clinic and once the design was finalized, two builders provided quotations. The total construction budget was estimated to be $163,000 and Fellowship Bible Church had agreed to provide the initial $80,000 to get construction started. With a deep thanks to Fellowship Bible Church for the seed money, the USA Board for Solidarity Ministries Africa would commit to finding the rest of the money to complete the construction project.

We are fully operational!

In late 2022, the Achiek Women’s Clinic completed construction and is now operational. The doctor for whom the clinic was designed (Angelo Deng) has graduated from medical school and has returned to Lietnhom and is gladly serving his community with his new skills. Angelo is serving under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Romano Deng who worked for Doctors Without Borders previously in South Sudan before joining our team. Additionally, our clinic employs a full time nurse, midwife, operations manager, administrator and other key support staff to keep the clinic running.

FAQ: “What does Achiek mean?”

The local language in Lietnhom is Dinka and Achiek is a Dinka word meaning “Creator God”. In the absence of skilled medical care in the region previously, the local residents have been calling out to God to heal them of their maladies. With an established clinic in place and skilled medical providers, we recognize that the Creator God will be healing the people of the community through the hands of those who serve at the clinic.