Dr Evan Atar Adaha, a 52 year-old South Sudanese surgeon, was awarded the Nansen Refugee Award for his effort in saving thousands of lives affected by the conflict in South Sudan. Previously awarded humanitarians include the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Luciano Pavarotti.
Dr Atar, as he is more often referred to as, manages the Maban Hospital in Bunj, South Sudan under difficult circumstances. Resources and equipment are scarce, however the doctor and his team have managed to make it work for the past seven years.
The operating room at Maban Hospital performs about 60 operations a week all done under just one light. The hospital’s x-ray machine is broken, electricity flitters via faulty generators, and anaesthesia is rare and a struggle to attain. Yet despite all that is against this team of heroes, the hospital helps approximately 200,000 patients who more mostly Sudanese refugees.
Although many will frown against the current state of the hospital, those working there would probably say it is like a holiday compared to how it once was as a deserted health clinic in 2011. Today it has 120 beds, a maternity ward, nutrition centre, and nursing and midwifery trainees.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) supports the hospital where possible, however finances remain an obstacle.
The winner of the Nansen Refugee award will receive $150,000 to put towards a project related to the work they do. The keynote address will be delivered by actress and UNHCR goodwill ambassador Cate Blanchett in Geneva next week.