December 2019 Mother of Mercy Hospital Update

an update from the only hospital in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan

Posted by OBS Team on December 5th, 2019

In October 2016, Operation Broken Silence launched the Heart of Nuba Campaign alongside of the Take Heart Foundation. This online fundraising movement provides support to Mother of Mercy Hospital in the oppressed Nuba Mountains of Sudan. This is an update on how your fundraising and giving is leading to real results at this special healthcare facility. 

People in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan have been living in emergency conditions since June of 2011, when Sudan's military regime launched another genocidal war against their communities. The regime banned all aid and media organizations from the Nuba Mountains in an attempt to cover up their war crimes and increase suffering on the Nuba people.

Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a military coup in April 2019. Sudan now has a fledgling transitional government that is seeking to move the country toward civilian, democratic rule. In October, Sudan’s Council of Ministers granted permission for the World Food Programme (WFP) to visit Kauda, the opposition capital in the war-torn Nuba Mountains region, for the first time in more than eight years. Sadly though, this new government has not yet lifted the humanitarian blockade on the Nuba Mountains, nor has a permanent peace been achieved.

Right now, a fragile ceasefire is holding together in the Nuba Mountains. There have been several targeted attacks by regime forces in frontline areas over the past few months. No aerial bombing has been reported.

In the heart of the warzone sits Mother of Mercy Hospital, the only referral hospital in the region. This life-saving facility is led by American Dr. Tom Catena and an incredible local Nuba staff. They refuse to leave and do their best to save lives, sometimes treating over 400 patients a day. Access to basic medical supplies is extremely limited and the hospital is regularly short on funds. Mother of Mercy Hospital depends entirely on private fundraising and giving.

Here is the latest message from Dr. Tom:

I wish you could meet Salwa in person. Since that’s not possible, I hope my effort to tell her story gives you a glimpse into her life and her courage. Salwa is a 32-year-old mother. She lives about a 12-hour walk from Gidel Hospital, in a small village called Tangal.

Early on in her pregnancy, she started having severe neck and chest pain. A local clinic gave her medication but after a month of taking it, she was still in pain. The clinic referred her to me and my team. After a few tests, we diagnosed her with tuberculosis and immediately started her treatment. 

In addition to that, she had fluid building up in her chest cavity which has to be drained periodically. The pain in my neck and difficulty breathing has disappeared, and my body is generally much better,” she told us. 

During her weeks-long treatment, she gave birth to her son, Rama, who has congenital club foot. I’ve been treating him with plaster casts that are changed every three weeks. Rama is one of the lucky ones. Since we were able to treat him so early, he’ll be able to walk normally once his treatment is done and he’s old enough to walk.

"I want to thank the doctors and nurses at the Gidel Mother of Mercy Hospital for their great care and for helping me for such a long time. My gratitude also goes out to everyone who supports Gidel Hospital with medicine and equipment that are not available anywhere else in the Nuba Mountains. If it were not for your generosity, many people including myself and my son wouldn't be here. God bless you,” Salwa says.

Her courage in the midst of pain, her resilience in the face of extreme poverty, and her tenderness towards her son inspires me. 


As 2019 comes to a close, we are grateful for the team at Mother of Mercy Hospital and their unwavering commitment to the Nuba people. They are true heroes who have had to work under the threats of violence, a lack of funding, and a lack of resources. 

The hospital's impact is truly incredible despite these challenges and many more. In 2018 alone, the hospital performed 53,632 clinic visits (29% are children under 5-years-old), completed 1,625 operations, cared for an additional 80,000 patients at six community clinics, delivered 382 babies (20% by C-section), and treated 164 tuberculosis and leprosy patients.

2020 marks the beginning of a new decade. We ask that you join us in helping the team at Mother of Mercy Hospital get off to a good start:

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Mother of Mercy Hospital is the only medical facility for hundreds of thousands of people in the Nuba Mountains. Without this critical healthcare institution, people would have nowhere else to go. Here are three effective ways you can help support the work at Mother of Mercy Hospital:

1. Give Monthly. This is the easiest way to support the lifesaving work being done every day at Mother of Mercy Hospital. Signing up takes less than a minute, and you'll be effortlessly provide consistent support moving forwards. LEARN MORE »

2. Become a Fundraiser. You can start a personal fundraising page for Mother of Mercy Hospital and ask your friends and family to give towards your goal. This is the best way to support healthcare work in the Nuba Mountains and get your community involved at the same time. START FUNDRAISING »

3. Give. If you're not ready to make a monthly giving or fundraising commitment yet, making a one-time donation to the hospital is the perfect next step for you. GIVE HERE »

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