Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains

Health care in the middle of nowhere

  • Approach
  • Current status
  • Project partners


The war is not over yet!

Mother of Mercy Hospital is the only functioning institution in the Nuba Mountains that can perform almost all surgical procedures and operations and started its work in 2008 on a small scale. Within a few years, it expanded its capacity and services due to the ever-growing demand. At peak times, the hospital serves 250 outpatients and 180 inpatients.
Since 2008, American physician Dr. Tom Catena has been involved with Mother of Mercy. When war broke out again in June 2011, many medical professionals from abroad left the region. Left behind were Dr. Catena, two qualified nurses and several trainees. Although everyone involved was "thrown in at the deep end" by this situation, the team managed to maintain the only clinic for about 750,000 people, performing almost all surgical procedures and operations for many years. Every day, sick and wounded people are brought to the hospital to be housed and treated. In order to accommodate the large number at all, tents have been pitched on the grounds of the hospital. The Mother of Mercy (MoM) Hospital in Gidel provides medical care for the population and aims to help improve living conditions. Although there has been a ceasefire for 1 ½ years, the hospital and the people continue to face new challenges: The region in the Nuba Mountains where the hospital is located is a border region between Sudan and South Sudan. The Sudanese government claims the oil-rich area for itself, although the population feels that it belongs more to South Sudan. Therefore, there has been a power struggle over this area for years. The resulting destruction of infrastructure means that many patients have to walk long distances.
In addition, deliveries of humanitarian aid are repeatedly hampered by the Sudanese government. At the moment, the campaign is the only organization still sending aid shipments to the hospital in Gidel. Due to the opaque and dangerous situation in the region, this is becoming increasingly difficult, but to the delight of all involved, all shipments with urgently needed medical materials have so far arrived mostly undamaged. Most recently, at the end of March 2018, a container was sent from our aid warehouse in Bochum on its way to the Nuba Mountains.

Despite all the hurdles, the team continues to work tirelessly and treat all patients as best they can. To treat patients, the MoM trains health workers. These are sent to villages in the region and provide primary medical care and prevention work on site. Through mobile care, diseases can be detected and treated at an early stage. In addition, two prosthesis technicians from Uganda come to the hospital's orthopedic ward twice a year. They stay on site for five weeks at a time and treat the patients that Dr. Catena refers to them.

We have a special friendship with Dr. Tom Catena because in 2017 he received the Aurora Prize for the Advancement of Humanity. In addition to his prize money, Dr. Tom was able to split the amount of $1 million among three charities, one of which was Action Canchanabury. Through this generous donation, we have the opportunity to continue supporting the MoM as well as other projects. The donations that go through us to the MoM will be able to fund the training of medical staff, the prosthetic workshop, prosthetic technicians and supplies, and the purchase of medications and clinical supplies.


Financing of the prosthesis workshop: Technicians from Uganda, local training and materials for the walking aids and the workshop.

2023: EUR 30,264.19


Project partner(s):
Mother of Mercy Referral Mission Hospital
Dr. Tom Catena

  • Project number: AC 5616
  • In contact since: 2010
  • Location of the project: Gidel is located in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, in the so-called "Liberated Areas", areas within Sudan controlled by the SPLA-N (Sudan People's Liberation Army-North).


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