Within one of KIT’s large projects, SHARP: the South Sudan Health Action Research Project, capacity development is an important component. Capacity is built by training midwives and nurses, but also health managers. Besides a tailor-made leadership and management course for health managers in three States, SHARP also provides six South Sudanese the opportunity to pursue a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at KIT in Amsterdam.
Over the past months, health professionals have applied to KIT to be admitted for the MPH, and to be considered for one of the SHARP scholarships. This process has not been easy for many, as internet access is limited in many places and doing the necessary English proficiency test is a bottleneck, because of logistical problems and difficulties regarding the Arabic-English transition in the country.
On 22 May 2015, the selection committee, consisting of the Director General of Training and Professional Development of Ministry of Health of South Sudan (Dr Gabriel), the SHARP coördinator for capacity development (Maryse Kok) and a KIT Education representative (Dr Sumit Kane), made a final selection of candidates for the SHARP scholarships. The list of successful applicants was approved by the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health of South Sudan, Dr Riek Gai Kok, appreciated KIT’s work in strengthening South Sudan’s health system. He thanked KIT, SHARP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (the funder of SHARP) for the scholarships and other support given through SHARP.
Besides this, further cooperation on capacity development in the field of public health between KIT and the Ministry of Health was discussed. Both KIT and the Ministry were very pleased about the SHARP scholarship process and the opportunities it will yield for improving the South Sudanese health system. It might be a first step, but all parties realize that public health and health management specialists are of utmost importance for improving health in this – still fragile – country. The six candidates who will study in Amsterdam next year are currently serving their country in either clinical, management or programme coordinating roles. They will keep on serving South Sudan after they studied at KIT, as arrangements have been made to guarantee this.