Ruth Kahira is one of our dedicated international volunteers. She is serving as a nurse at St. Therese Hospital in Nzara, South Sudan. Having worked in a variety of clinical settings, she is most proud of her work in Central Australia with indigenous health. Ruth is passionate about public health and disaster management and has pursued further studies in this field. Read on to learn more about Ruth, including why she chose CMMB! 

Where is home? I was born and raised in Kenya, but I have been living and working in Australia for the past 11 years and home for now is Nzara, South Sudan.

Education: I am a trained nurse and received my Masters in Public Health. I am currently working in South Sudan and hope to continue working in disaster management and in the humanitarian field.

CMMB volunteer position and duration:  I am based in Nzara, South Sudan (a very remote part of this new country) working at St. Therese Hospital for one year.

If you were asked to sum yourself up in two words, which two would you choose? I would describe myself as hardworking and dedicated.

Why CMMB? I was particularly drawn to CMMB’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) when addressing maternal and child health, and deaths among children under five. This is a wide and cross cutting field. I am new to maternal health but I am well-versed in child health. This placement will solidify my experience and interlink both areas in my practice.

You are having a dinner party. Which three people (living or dead) do you invite? If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, and the Dalai Lama. I would love to absorb their life experiences and learn from them in terms of how to achieve a more equitable and just world, especially for women and children.

What is your go-to karaoke song? Parallel lines – Keith Urban

What is your hope for your experience volunteering with CMMB? I hope that by the end of my journey I will have made a small difference for the staff working here. I hope to touch all patients’ lives with quality nursing care and gain skills that I can use in my future

What book should everyone read? Why? My favorite book is “Unbowed” by Wangari Maathai. Maathai was a fierce female Kenyan conservationist and (first ever African female) Nobel Peace Prize winner who fought vehemently throughout her life for the well being and safekeeping of Kenya’s national parks and forests. I love this book because it reminds me that we all have a voice and are compelled to use it to fight for a cause. We can all do something about the troubles that surround us and you never know, you might start a movement as a result.

What is your hope for the future? My hope for the future is to see a drastic reduction in maternal and newborn deaths around the world. The disparity of healthcare around the world is shocking and one of the key issues is the massive difference between maternal and newborn deaths in the developing world compared to the developed world.

If you could solve one world problem, what would it be? Touching on my previous point, I would want to eliminate maternal and newborn deaths globally if I had the power to do so.

What are the three things you are most grateful for? I am most grateful for my mother who has raised me to be the strong individual that I am. She has always encouraged me to never give up on my dreams. I am also grateful for my health. After a difficult few years with some health conditions, I am extremely grateful for good health without which I would fail to be all that I am.

I also have to note that my family and friends have always encouraged me to go after my dreams, and because of that, here I am in South Sudan doing what most compels me.

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