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MPH

Sandra Banks

Juba, South Sudan

Challenging a Poverty of Resources

A year after finishing her medical degree and a few weeks after South Sudan gained independence in July 2011, Sandra Banks moved from Khartoum to the south to teach at the University of Juba’s School of Medicine and take on clinical duties at the main civil hospital.

Although the hospitals in the north where she did her training were stretched thin for resources, she was shocked to see the conditions of hospitals in the south.

"I want whatever I do next to really make a difference, and to extend beyond the walls of a ward and hospital to impact communities rather than individuals.”

“There was often no medications, no equipment, no intravenous fluids, and sometimes no electricity, all critical and life-saving necessities,” Banks says. “To make it worse, the patients themselves were severely impoverished, contributing more to poor health.

“Just walking into the wards at the hospital sometimes takes the life away from you. Your passion, purpose, and thoughts are challenged and sometimes you tell yourself you don’t want to be a doctor anymore, because you feel you are helpless” she says.

Banks, who worked with the South Sudan Red Cross and the World Health Organization on Ebola preparedness and COVID-19 response efforts, is focusing on humanitarian health in her MPH program.

“I want whatever I do next to really make a difference,” she says, “and to extend beyond the walls of a ward and hospital to impact communities rather than individuals.”

Profile photo of Sandra Banks

FROM
Juba, South Sudan

DEGREES
MBBS, Medicine and Surgery, University of Juba, 2010

PURSUING
MPH