TUT RIAM, MSF Academy for Healthcare clinical mentor in South Sudan
Tut was born in Lankien, a remote area of South Sudan, where an MSF hospital is the only functioning secondary healthcare facility in the region. When he was 13 years old, he contracted kala-azar, also known as visceral leishmaniasis, one of the deadliest parasitic diseases in the world. He received treatment at the MSF hospital and survived. “One of the nurse-aides who is here and has been working for MSF since then, Moses, used to give me the injection every morning. Every time, Moses would come with a smile on his face to give me the injection… from there I developed the passion of becoming a nurse, because of the way he handled me. When I recovered, I thought ‘I need to go to school, and I want to become like this man.’”
Tut continued his education in Uganda and Kenya, he got a diploma in Midwifery, and then studied Nursing thanks to a scholarship from UNFPA. However, his ultimate goal was to return to his village. He began working for MSF in the maternity ward at Lankien hospital, where he would mentor some of his colleagues with the knowledge he had gained. “I feel really proud that I have achieved my dream, because I said ‘when I finish school, the only NGO I will work with: MSF.’” Tut explains that many of the MSF staff currently working at the hospital in Lankien were born in the maternity ward of the hospital.
When the MSF Academy for Healthcare started offering its Basic Clinical Nursing Care training programme in Lankien for the hospital’s nursing staff, Tut assumed the role of clinical mentor. Clinical mentors are responsible for conducting theoretical sessions at the project site for enrolled nurses and nurse-aides, providing support as they practice newly acquired skills, and mentoring them at the patients’ bedside. In remote locations such as Lankien, some of the national staff had limited access to quality healthcare education. This is why MSF created the MSF Academy for Healthcare, to enable them to receive practical training on the job while working with MSF.
Moses, the nurse-aide who treated Tut for kala-azar when he was a teenager and inspired him to pursue a career in healthcare, became one of his mentees in the MSF Academy’s Basic Clinical Nursing Care training programme. “Now when I see Moses who has become my learner, and see that things have turned around… For people like me who have gone to school the only way to help our community is to come and support. I feel that I’m the right person to serve the community and to help this community move forward, because of the education that I have.” Tut recently started a Master’s Degree in Public Health with a grant from MSF, and after completing it, he intends to stay in Lankien: “I was born here, my parents are here and also all the relatives, so I’m ready to serve them and I’m ready to deliver this knowledge to my junior staff; that will be my pride, to see them coming up and also help our community here.”
The MSF Academy for Healthcare’s Basic Clinical Nursing Care training programme was implemented in Lankien from July 2021 to March 2023. With the end of the implementation, Tut finished his mission as clinical mentor.