Due to the death of our previous Chair, Awad Abdelgadir, the Mother Maryam Foundation made some changes to its board structure. Stephanie Savage became the new Chair, and Samie Abdelaziz became our newest Board Member.
On December 29, the Kolomiseed Clinic held another Free Health Care Day, sponsored by the Journey Foundation and Mother Maryam Foundation. The volunteer specialists included: a pediatrician; an orthopedist; internal medicine and kidney disorder specialist; an internal medicine and gastrointestinal specialist; a surgeon; an ophthalmologist; and obstetrician / gynecologist; an ear, nose, and throat specialist; four medical residents; a dentist with two assistants; two pharmacists and three assistants; four lab technicians and three assistants; an optometrist; and a registrar. The team examined and treated 837 patients and the laboratory performed 189 tests. Another Free Health Care Day will be held in February 2024.
In April, fighting between two rival generals disrupted life in Sudan, destroying lives and property, displacing families, and hindering communications and the economy. Urban dwellers fled to rural villages, or to nearby countries. Education, health care, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, and infrastructure all have suffered in the chaotic violence. Although at certain times, it was not possible for Mother Maryam Foundation to send funds to Sudan, our projects have been able to continue. Many employees of the Kolomiseed Clinic worked without pay until it became possible for us to transfer funds. The Clinic (renovated in late 2022) was completely painted, a new sign was erected, and broken furniture was replaced. The First Free Health Care Day, funded by the Journey Foundation and Mother Maryam Foundation, was delayed from April until June. During the Free Health Care Day and normal daily operations of the Clinic, more people use the services, as all the villages have enlarged populations as people have fled there from the cities. The women’s health care unit and delivery room, funded by Ronald Cheng and the Dougherty Foundation, continue to offer services to pregnant women and new mothers, offer baby and childhood monitoring and care, and birth spacing / family planning advice.
Mother Maryam Foundation lost its inspiring founder, Awad Abdelrahim Abdelgadir Abu Hulayga (known as Awad Abdelgadir), who died on March 7 after a long illness. Until the end, he was most concerned about the village where he was raised, and other rural villages in his area and elsewhere, and the best ways to help them thrive. See Awad’s obituary.
In February, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Dongola, the Kolomiseed Clinic, and Mother Maryam Foundation hosted a workshop on Family and Child Protection sponsored by UNICEF. It emphasized community activism to combat ‘regressive’ social practices (such as child marriage and FGM) and encourage ‘progressive’ social practices (young people’s education and choice of timing and partner in marriage) and encourage community identity through factors such as use of language, folklore, music, and other customs as opposed to focusing on ‘regressive’ social practices. The workshop comprised: presentations by international, national, and local experts; small group discussions; and a group discussion of problem solving and communications strategies for community and youth activists. Fifty attendees from Az-Zawrat and Jarada received certificates of participation as family and child protection activists.
The Joseph Hang Family Foundation’s generous donation for high school scholarships was matched by others, to provide money for tuition, books, uniforms, and other supplies to first year high school students in Az-Zawrat. The local scholarship committee, at the time they received the money, decided to use the money to pay tuition fees and examination fees for all 200 high school students, to preserve the existence of the school at a time of financial insecurity in Sudan. The balance of the scholarship money was granted to the first year students for other expenses.
The 2022 report of Az-Zawrat made by the Rural Residency students from the Department of Community Medicine at the University of Dongola included suggestions that the community implemented. At the report’s suggestion, the water towers were cleaned and sanitized. The Kolomiseed Clinic hired a part-time environmental health worker who spends one day a week in Az-Zawrat, managing insect and pest eradication and ensuring that hazardous materials are properly handled. The report suggested improvements to the three elementary schools: installing metal roofs to replace the mud and dung coated palm frond roofs, and installation of electrical lights and ceiling fans in classrooms and offices. The Journey Foundation has agreed to fund, along with Mother Maryam Foundation, the implementation of this project in 2024.
In October, medical students from the Department of Community Medicine at the University of Dongola completed a weeklong Rural Residency in Az-Zawrat, supervised by Dr. Mohamed Osman (Dr. Omda) and Dr. Amira Hassan Arman, Public Health Specialist, with Nora Faisal Hassan as field team leader. The student team examined the water project, school facilities, and the general environment. Their final report includes suggestions and recommendations to improve the quality of environmental health and the wellbeing of the village community. These recommendations inform Mother Maryam Foundation’s planning of future projects.
The Kolomiseed Health Center now has two newly constructed walls and bathrooms with flushable toilets and hand washing stations.
All three elementary schools in Az-Zawrat have brand new outhouses, thanks to grants from the Journey Charitable Foundation, South Austin Rotary, and the Sunday School Fund. The new outhouses include washable flushable porcelain fittings, running water, septic tanks, and hand washing stations. Now fabrications of new wooden benches and tables are being locally made, to decrease crowding of students.
Long-time supporter Ronald Cheng has pledged to continue sponsoring the expansion and improvements of maternity and family services into 2023.
In April, the Kolomiseed Health Center began a process of renovations, including the construction of two new bathrooms and the rebuilding of the eastern wall.
The latest Free Health Care Day was held at the Kolomiseed Health Center on March 4, 2022, co-sponsored by Mother Maryam Foundation and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Dongola. The Clinic was open all day that Friday, with free testing, treatment, and medications. The clinic’s usual staff was joined by ten volunteer medical specialists from the provincial capital of Dongola. These included a gastrointestinal specialist; an orthopedist; a wounds specialist; an ear, nose, and throat specialist; a pediatrician; a gynecologist / obstetrician; an ophthalmologist; an optometrist; and a psychiatrist. A team vaccinated against COVID-19.
At the beginning of the year, the Journey Charitable Foundation gave the Mother Maryam Foundation a generous $10,000 grant to support physical improvements to three elementary schools in Az-Zawrat village. Their contribution has been matched by the Mother Maryam Foundation, South Austin Rotary Foundation, and the Sunday School Fund, for a total budget of $30,000. This project entails the construction of six new outhouses and hand washing stations at each school, and two new tables and benches in each classroom at the three schools. The new outhouses and handwashing stations will improve hygiene for students and staff, and the new tables and benches will reduce crowding and allow physical distancing of students.
Mother Maryam Foundation has funded a skills laboratory for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Dongola. Graduates of the Faculty staff many of the health care facilities in the Northern Province, including the Kolomiseed Health Center. The implementation of this laboratory enables the Faculty to meet its standards for accreditation. Dr. Mohamed Osman (Dr. Omda), Dean of the Faculty, provided a detailed proposal and budget for the skills lab, which includes manikins and patient simulators to allow students to practice basic surgical and nursing procedures before dealing with real patients. In early July, Mother Maryam Foundation sent $16,840 to the medical equipment company providing equipment for the laboratory.
In July, Mother Maryam Foundation decided to subsidize salaries for staff at the Kolomiseed Elementary School. Thirty staff members – administration, teachers, and janitors – each receive an equal subsidy of $10 per month. We sent $1,800 to provide for six months. After that, we will decide whether to continue, or perhaps to extend the program to other elementary schools in the area.
Mr. Ronald Cheng, long-time supporter of the Kolomiseed Health Center, has recently initiated the expansion and Improvement of the maternal and newborn services of the Kolomiseed Health Center. Mr. Cheng’s generous donation will provide the services of two midwives and provision of equipment for the delivery room for a year. This initiative will include the following:
1) Reproductive health services, including pregnancy monitoring, provision of folic acid and other supplements, and family planning and birth spacing.
2) Child nutrition and development services.
3) Healthy childhood service, including medicine and supplements for children up to 5 years.
4) Immunization service.
5) Public health education service, including posters and educational materials for general family health improvements.
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Dongola University and Mother Maryam Foundation’s representative, Dr. Omda (Dr. Mohamed Osman), who oversees Kolomiseed Health Center operations, received his COVID-19 vaccine on television – to help overcome public hesitancy about vaccinations. In the future, we hope to make COVID-19 vaccinations available at the Health Center.
In early February, Ms. Amna Osman of the Soraya organization and Dr. Nada Fadul of SudanNextGen informed us that the Dongola Covid-19 Isolation Center had run out of its supplemental oxygen supply, which resulted in patient deaths. With their help, Mother Maryam Foundation raised funds and sent $10,000 to buy oxygen tanks. Our representatives in Dongola are distributing 50 oxygen tanks to the Covid-19 Isolation Center and 26 other hospitals and rural clinics in the area, all the way from Halfa to al-Golid. We thank all the donors that supported this critical project.
In November, the Texas based Journey Charitable Foundation awarded the Mother Maryam Foundation a generous grant of $2,500 to support our projects. These funds will help communities served by the Kolomiseed Health Center address critical public health issues at this difficult time.
In November, the Kolomiseed Health Center hosted a mobile clinic sponsored by a German – Saudi – UAE charity. Twelve health care workers provided a mobile clinic and tents outside the Health Center. They offered free testing, medication, and treatments to over 200 patients. The village community provided food, lodging, and hospitality to the health care workers.
Sudan had unprecedented flooding in the fall of 2020. Floods destroyed 100,000 homes and affected over 3 million people. To assist flooded communities, Mother Maryam Foundation jointly hosted a Free Health Care Caravan with the University of Dongola Faculty of Medicine, local health authorities, local environmental health authorities, the Omdurman National Bank, and the Sudanese Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. Starting on October 2, staff from the Kolomiseed Health Center joined a team of medical specialists and environmental technicians who provided food, medicine, health care, and environmental health services to the village of Dal, around 200 km north of Kolomiseed Health Center. Starting on October 9, the Caravan provided food and health care to the villages of Az-Zooma, Magashy, and Al-Huzayma in the Meroe area, 120 km south of our Health Center.
In August, Mother Maryam Foundation sent $5,000 to help prepare the schools in Az-Zawrat village for their COVID-19 delayed opening in November. Five hand washing stations with appropriately spaced faucets are being built at schools in the village, one in each elementary school and two in the high school. We have committed to supply each school with locally made soap and hand sanitizer for the school year. Medical students from the University of Dongola have volunteered to conduct health education on hand washing and COVID-19 protection to students and staff when the schools open. This effort will help protect the 1,132 students, teachers, and staff in this village.
In June, Mother Maryam Foundation supported a COVID-19 Health Education Project in the village of Az-Zawrat on the Nile River in Sudan. Dr. Mohamad Osman Abdelaziz (Dr. Omda), the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Dongola University, supervised health educators who visited all 1,006 homes in this rural agricultural village. The volunteer health workers included medical students, practitioners from the Sudanese Red Crescent Society and the Dongola Locality Health Authority, and other local volunteers. The masked gloved health workers visited households to teach how COVID-19 is transmitted, and taught social distancing, wearing cloth masks, covering coughs and sneezes, how to wash hands and use hand sanitizer, and how best to protect themselves and their families. They gave each household locally made antiseptic soap and hand sanitizer. They gave hand sanitizer and soap to four schools, three elementary schools and one high school. Health officers and mosquito control workers sanitized all public areas in the village, including the Kolomiseed Health Center. The village women prepared food for the health care teams.
The Kolomiseed Health Center in Az-Zawrat continues to operate during the coronavirus pandemic, following WHO guidelines for safety. The Health Center has not had any COVID cases. The staff has been educating the community in proper social distancing and sanitation standards. The schools ended the school year early due to the pandemic.
The Clinic’s development plan for 2020 has been delayed due to these circumstances. The plan was to build a home on Clinic grounds to house a Doctor with a family. Since the opening of the Clinic in 2011, it has been served by a Resident Physician, a live-in physician who is undergoing the Residency requirement of medical training. During their year of service, the physicians have lived in a bedroom attached to the Clinic. While each doctor was much appreciated, the community hopes to have a Doctor who might remain in the village for a longer period of time, so wants to be able to house a doctor with a family. The village plans to recruit a female doctor.
Mother Maryam Foundation supported the construction of an exterior wall and a traditional Nubian style gate in the last of the three elementary schools in the village. Now all schools have renovated exterior walls and traditional Nubian style entrance gateways.
The Clinic building was renovated, with new paint, new plumbing, repaired windows, and an enlargement of the Doctor’s quarters. The Mother Maryam Foundation cooperated with the Nubian Cultural Organization and the Khartoum Eye Clinic to host a Vision Care Day, in which students from five villages received free examinations, treatment, and glasses (if necessary).
The Clinic hosted a UNICEF vaccination campaign against yellow fever, polio, and other diseases. It hosted two Free Health Care Days (with volunteer specialists from the provincial capital as well as Clinic Doctor and staff) and two Dental Missions. A team of Medical students and professors from Dongola University surveyed students from all three Az-Zawrat Elementary Schools: recording height, weight, nutritional status, and screening for medical conditions.
Mother Maryam Foundation funded the transport of medicines donated by Americares to the Clinic and to four regional hospitals.
The Mother Maryam Foundation paid for the renovations of a second elementary school in Az-Zawrat. Volunteer laborers (supervised by a local builder) built traditional Nubian style gates at the entrance to the schools’ compounds.
The Mother Maryam Foundation received a generous bequest from the estate of Nancy Kott Tunnell and Curtis Tunnell of Austin TX. The village community and its cooperatives have been holding meetings to figure out their greatest needs for projects in the future.
The Kolomiseed Health Care Center hosted two Free Health Care Days, two Dental Care Days, and an Ophthalmological Day, all with visiting specialists. Because of the deteriorating condition of the health services in the area, the Clinic has served greater numbers of patients from outlying villages.
Thoraya Abdelraheem Abdelgadir became Ombudsman for the Clinic. She is at the Clinic when it is open so that she is able to assist staff and patients in resolving any problems or issues they encounter there.
The Kolomiseed Health Center’s Doctor and staff and volunteer medical specialists from the provincial capital hosted a Free Health Care Day that served over 1,000 patients. It hosted a visiting Dental Team which provided free examinations and treatment and an Ophthalmological Team that provided eye examinations and treatment.
The Clinic hosted a team from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society that trained community members in First Aid and Home Health Care. They provided all trainees with free first aid kits.
The Mother Maryam Foundation sent money to remodel classrooms and build a new wall around the Kolomiseed Elementary School, one of the three elementary schools in Az-Zawrat village. This wall includes a traditional Nubian style gateway at the entrance. The Foundation provided the materials, while the village donated labor for construction. The men did the building, while the women did the painting and cooked meals for the volunteer laborers.
The Mother Maryam Foundation sent watermelon, onion, and tomato seeds for distribution to local farmers.