Statement: Catholic Medical Mission Board Provide Aid For Women in Nuba Mountains

04:42 P

Wednesday 13 October 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, Oct 13, 2021 – Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) today announced that it will provide 27,000 patients and caregivers a week-long allocation of food at Mother of Mercy Hospital in Nuba Mountains, Sudan covering October 2021 through September 2022.

Access to food is severely limited throughout the Nuba Mountains in southern Sudan, and prices rose notably over the last year, driven by cash and fuel shortages caused by the deteriorating economic situation. Nationally, 7.1 million Sudanese are severely food insecure. Famine conditions have occurred in the Nuba Mountains, consistently in recent years.

“The political instability and deep economic crisis continue to exacerbate hardships among communities in Sudan – especially in the Nuba Mountains. Mother of Mercy Hospital is the only hospital in the region, serving more than one million people. Patients and their families travel a day or more – many on foot – to access essential health care services,” said Mary Beth Powers, CMMB president and CEO.

“Mother of Mercy Hospital does not have enough food for its patients. The only local, accessible market opens once a week but lacks the capacity to serve the hospital population, and most patients do not have enough money to buy food there. While they are undergoing treatment, the hospital is the sole source of food for both patients and their caregivers. This food assistance for Mother of Mercy Hospital will enable patients to remain for the duration of their needed treatment. It will ensure that Dr. Tom Catena and his staff can continue providing quality care. This hospital is critical to the stability of the region,” said Ms. Powers.

Dr. Tom Catena has served in Africa for over 20 years, treating patients while bombs were dropped by fighter jets, during epidemics, and despite a chronic lack of equipment. He helped to establish Mother of Mercy Hospital, a 435-bed facility, which opened in 2008 and remains the only major provider of medical care in the region. He is the only medical doctor at Mother of Mercy Hospital. Dr. Catena was listed as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015. In 2017, Dr. Catena was awarded the prestigious Aurora Prize in recognition of his extensive humanitarian efforts. Dr. Catena’s courageous work was also the subject of the award-winning documentary film The Heart of Nuba.

“Although it may not seem obvious, providing a secure source of food for our patients is a cornerstone of their treatment. Most of our patients travel long distances to seek care and often arrive in a debilitated state and thus require an extended period of hospitalization. The meager amount of resources they bring is never enough to sustain them during their stay and therefore they would be forced to leave before completing their treatment. The food aid is essential to their care. By providing a secure source of food during their hospital stay, patients have one less barrier to access critical health care services in this war-torn region,” said Dr. Catena.

“Survival is a challenge for the people of the Nuba Mountains. They have so many needs: food, water, education, agriculture, health care, governance, and more. Despite their great need, the people in the region receive very limited international aid. The food assistance will support the most vulnerable who are needing intensive medical treatment,” said Dr. Catena.

Mary Beth Powers and Dr. Tom Catena are available for a limited number of interviews. For questions about the information contained within this press release or about CMMB and its programs, please contact the Director of Communications, Luke Dougherty, at