Polio in Southern Sudan
Despite repeated vaccination campaigns, polio continues to destroy lives in Southern Sudan. Sixty-four new cases were reported between June 2008 and June 2009.
The international community invests substantially in efforts to eradicate polio from Southern Sudan. The World Health Organization and Rotary International have performed wonders when it comes to mass immunization campaigns. But little is being done to help polio survivors overcome physical handicaps and fulfill their human potential.
Thousands of polio sufferers struggle to survive in Southern Sudan. Those without the use of their legs must crawl through the dirt to get from point A to point B. Education and employment are usually out of reach.
The War Years
For over 20 years, Southern Sudan was devastated by genocidal conflict (1983-2005). The Aweil region – bordering Darfur – was severely affected by the Government of Sudan’s declared “jihad” against the “kufar” (infidels). Unable to flee from slave raiders and forage for food, many polio sufferers perished. But the survivors are determined take advantage of the cessation of hostilities. One of their leaders is aptly named Moses
Moses Leading his Handicapped People
Moses’ legs may have been destroyed by polio, but his spirit remains strong. He is determined to do everything possible to make sure other polio survivors lead full, rewarding and dignified lives. Moses therefore founded People vs. Polio – a self-help association. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) provides a helping hand. You can read Moses’ story here.
Severely restricted movement is the greatest challenge facing mostpolio sufferers. A hand-propelled tricycle can revolutionize life for an immobile survivor of polio. The vehicle creates the chance to obtain a stimulating education and productive employment. CSI has provided People vs Polio with a welding machine to enable polio survivor to build their own tricycles out of bicycles parts and scrap metal.
Polio survivors are eager to learn. Three years ago, the UN’s World Food Program built a school for People vs Polio and provided regular supplies of grain. From the grain supplies Moses was able to pay teachers. But the school burnt down at the beginning of 2010. CSI is committed to helping construct a new school building.
The gift of a goat can make a polio survivor self-sufficient. Goats need little minding. Female goats provide a regular supply of milk and multiply. CSI has started to distribute goats and aims to provide all those afflicted with polio in the Aweil area with at least one.
Polio survivors want to work and be productive. CSI has provided hand tools to enable the handicapped to make crosses out of local mahogany. Proceeds from sales help the handicapped achieve financial independence and enable People vs Polio to expand its services.