Southern Sudan, human rights?

Southern Sudan, human rights?
by Martha Voet

In the past I have worked as a nurse. I started my nursing training more than 35 years ago. After my training I went for some years to Africa, to the South of Sudan. I worked in a clinic with very few medical means and no doctor, but I did everything possible. It has been a very impressive time.The native population still lives in very primitive circumstances. Their houses are mud huts with thatched roofs.

The villages have no water or electricity; no toilet facilities; no proper schools or shops. The people grow their own food and have a few possessions. They are deprived of any medical care. It is very sad to see that their living conditions have hardly changed after so many years. The situation in Darfur at the moment, tells us that for many people in Sudan the circumstances even got worse. Different situations gave me compassion for them who suffer injustice.

Like my trips behind the Iron and Bamboo curtain where I visited believers, who were persecuted. And my work in the UN refugee camps of Cambodia, after the massacre of the Pol Pot regime, called: The Killing Fields. At the moment I work in one of the University Hospitals in Amsterdam. More than 25 years I worked as a nurse at the casualty or emergency department. I took care of all kinds of patients, who needed immediate care. Among these patients were also children who were probably victims of child abuse. For these children we developed a special record of how we could try to recognize child abuse.

Our impression is that sometimes parents, or a person, who is taking care of the child, are not able to deal with a situation they are living in. The feeling of powerlessness can result in child abuse, in a mental, physical, emotional or sexual way. Every year many children die of child abuse if help is not offered in time. We do not only want to take care of the child and treat the child, if necessary, but also want to  help the parents. It is very difficult to decide if a child can stay in a dysfunctional family or not. You also have to think about what the damage may be later in life if the child is not protected of child abuse.

And  what the damage will even be for the next generation. For 1/3 of the abused children abuses their own children again. I am sure it will make a significant difference for some of the children and their parents and the next generation to be offered help in time. Due to reorganization I recently left my job as a nurse at the casualty department.

The consequence was that I had to leave the team of people, who were involved with preventing and diagnosing child abuse. After a difficult period of accepting the situation as it is, I was offered a job in the same hospital to work at the employees council.I feel happy about it now, for I can use all my experience to advise other employees. Sometime life looks like the End of the road, but then it is just a Bend in the road.