Samaritan's Purse, University of Calgary, CIDA join forces to aid impoverished Southern Sudan

    Relief organization, university and federal agency to rehabilitate
    medical facilities, train doctors

    CALGARY, May 22 /CNW/ - Samaritan's Purse Canada, the University of
Calgary, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) are teaming
up to provide desperately needed medical facilities and training in
impoverished Southern Sudan.
    The $3-million Southern Sudan Healthcare Accessibility, Rehabilitation
and Education (SSHARE) project will see up to five medical facilities repaired
and/or expanded, plus extensive education for doctors and medical personnel
working in the African nation.
    "Southern Sudan emerged from 22 years of brutal civil war with an
overwhelming lack of medical resources," said Samaritan's Purse Canada's
Executive Director, Fred Weiss. "We're grateful to have such strong partners
on board to encourage lasting peace and help the government there improve its
medical infrastructure."
    The project will not only make a difference in the health of thousands of
impoverished Sudanese, it will also vastly improve working conditions for
doctors. Many of them toil without important equipment and in dilapidated,
dangerous conditions no Canadian physician would ever accept.
    Samaritan's Purse and the University of Calgary will manage $3 million in
funds from CIDA to significantly improve healthcare services in at least three
locales in Jonglei, one of 10 states in Southern Sudan.
    Samaritan's Purse, the non-denominational Christian organization which
will be chiefly responsible for construction activities, has committed
$300,000 in additional funds from donations it will be seeking from Canadians
for the rehabilitation of a fourth facility, and will consider construction at
additional locations based on donor support.
    The University of Calgary will concentrate on community medical outreach
programs and continuing medical education and professional development for
medical personnel now working in Jonglei. That education is anticipated to
include twice-yearly medical camps, Internet-based training, textbooks,
on-site workshops, and mentoring conferences.
    "One of the goals of this project is to encourage Jonglei's medical
personnel to stay and further develop their doctoring skills " said Dr. Rod
Crutcher, a professor of Family Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and
director of the Sudanese Physician Reintegration Program. "We're glad to be
able to use our resources and staff to help make this happen. We also look
forward to continuing our partnership with Samaritan's Purse."
    Samaritan's Purse and the University of Calgary have worked together
before, creating the Sudanese Physician Reintegration Program. This
award-winning program significantly increased the number of practicing
physicians in Sudan through equipping 11 Sudanese-Canadian doctors to return
to Southern Sudan after completing a medical upgrading program at the
University of Calgary in 2006. Samaritan's Purse and the University of Calgary
have also collaborated individually with CIDA in the past.
    "Our goals are to provide humanitarian assistance, help refugees return,
support lasting peace, and encourage democracy," said the Minister of
International Cooperation, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda.
    "This project will improve the health of up to half a million people in
rural war-affected communities in Southern Sudan. It shows how partnerships
between our government, Samaritan's Purse Canada, and the University of
Calgary can work to make a positive difference for those in need."

    About Samaritan's Purse Canada:

    Samaritan's Purse Canada is a non-profit, international Christian relief
and development organization based in Calgary, AB. Through partners in Canada
and abroad, it provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty,
natural disasters, disease, and famine. Its major programs include the Turn on
the Tap safe water initiative, the recently launched if campaign supporting
Samaritan's Purse Women's Projects, and Operation Christmas Child, which sends
gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children around the world each year. To learn
more, please go to

    About the University of Calgary:

    The University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine has a strong commitment to
international service and is recognized as a leader in International Health,
with linkages to 22 countries, including a partnership with CIDA for a
community health project in the south Asian nation of Laos. The university's
involvement in the program will focus on physician training and medical
education. To learn more, please go to

    About the Canadian International Development Agency:

    The Canadian International Development Agency is the federal government's
lead agency for development assistance. Based in Gatineau, QC, it has a
mandate to support sustainable development in developing countries in order to
reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable, and prosperous
world. To learn more, please go to

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Frank King, Senior
Communications Advisor, Samaritan's Purse Canada, 20 Hopewell Way NE, Calgary,
AB, T3J 5H5, 1-800-663-6500, Fax: (403) 250-6567,;
Jordanna Heller, Media Relations Manager, University of Calgary Faculty of
Medicine, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, 7th Floor TRW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4Z6,
(403) 220-2431, Fax (403) 210-8141,; Media Relations
Office, Canadian International Development Agency, (819) 953-6534,

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