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NAIROBI, Kenya – Dr. Evan Atar Adaha knows that faith matters to many of his patients at the Maban Referral Hospital in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State.
So, before administering the anesthetic for surgery, he recites verses from the Bible or the Quran with patients. Then the 52-year-old surgeon, who is Roman Catholic, follows with a short prayer — according to the patient’s faith — before taking up his surgical knife.
Faith - Lot - Work - Surgeon - Atar
“My faith contributes a lot to my work,” said the surgeon, who is known simply as Atar. “I am inspired by a belief that we are all from one God. As we work, I keep telling my colleagues that we are one family and we must save lives.”
Atar is the only surgeon in Maban Referral Hospital. For more than two decades he has provided medical services to people fleeing war and persecution in Sudan and South Sudan.
Duties - Operating - Table - Newborn - Light
Along with his surgical duties, he can also be found pushing the operating table, playing with a newborn or even fixing a light.
On Sundays, he relaxes by going to church.
Service - Refugees - Doctor - United - Nations
For his service to refugees, the doctor has been named the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2018 Nansen Award winner. He received the award Oct. 1 in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Dr. Atar’s work through decades of civil war and conflict is a shining example of profound humanity and selflessness,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, in a statement. “Through his tireless efforts, thousands of lives have been saved, and countless men, women, and children provided with a new chance to rebuild the future.”
Fridtjof - Nansen - Explorer - Award - Honors
Named after Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian explorer and humanitarian, the award honors extraordinary service to refugees, displaced people and the stateless. According to the UNHCR website, the award includes $150,000 to fund a project designed in tandem with the agency.
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