Sudan-based doctor for 750,000 people awarded prize by George Clooney

Dr. Tom Catena, a 53-year-old Catholic missionary from New York, has worked in Sudan for more than a decade. (Photo courtesy: Aurora Humanitarian Initiative)
Updated 31 May 2017

Sudan-based doctor for 750,000 people awarded prize by George Clooney

DUBAI: A US surgeon who is the only permanent doctor for 750,000 people in an area of Sudan has been awarded the the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity for performing more than 1,000 operations a year in the country.
Dr. Tom Catena, a 53-year-old Catholic missionary from New York, has worked in Sudan for more than a decade, the BBC reported Tuesday.
He is the only permanent doctor in the Nuba Mountains, an area where infighting between President Omar Al-Bashir’s forces and rebels from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North is ongoing.
“The Sudanese Government is embroiled in a disagreement with rebels over who delivers aid...We have to inject a bit of common sense,” Catena, who treats shrapnel wounds, delivers babies and amputates limbs, said.
The doctor was given his award by Hollywood actor George Clooney, who said: “We all have a role in addressing these global challenges. We all have a responsibility, each of us individually.
Other finalists include a 26-year-old dentist from Syria who had to operate on a victim by sending images to more experienced doctors abroad via social media.
Muhammad Darwish was one of only three medics left in the besieged town of Madaya.
“To be in a position where you have to let someone without proper training operate on your son, and for me to take up that responsibility of opening up a living, breathing man on the table, it just should not have to happen,” he said of the procedure which was a success.
Another finalist was Jamila Afghani from Kabul who campaigns for religious leaders to address women’s rights.
According to the BBC, she said: “When you educate a woman, you educate an entire family. Their learnings are shared.”


Australia’s Great Barrier Reef status lowered to critical and deteriorating

Updated 03 December 2020

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef status lowered to critical and deteriorating

  • Australia’s northeastern coast has lost more than half its coral in the past three decades

MELBOURNE: The health of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem, is in a critical state and deteriorating as climate change warms up the waters in which it lies, an international conservation group said.
The World Heritage-listed site off Australia’s northeastern coast has lost more than half its coral in the past three decades.
Coral-bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020 has further damaged it health and affected its animal, bird and marine population, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said in a report.
Such bleaching occurs when hotter water destroys the algae which the coral feeds on, causing it to turn white.
The union moved the reef’s status to critical and deteriorating on its watchlist.
Some activities which threaten it, like fishing and coastal development, can be tackled by the management authorities, the union said.
“Other pressures cannot be addressed at the site level, such as climate change, which is recognized as the greatest threat,” it said.
Progress toward safeguarding the reef under a long-term sustainability plan through to 2050 has been slow and it has not been possible to stop its deterioration, it said.
The turtle populations — including loggerhead, hawksbill and northern green — as well as the scalloped hammerhead shark, many seabird populations and possibly some dolphin species are declining.
Efforts to safeguard the reef are rising, however. HSBC and the Queensland government said in October they would buy “Reef Credits,” a tradable unit that quantifies and values the work undertaken to improve water quality flowing onto the reef.
Similar to the carbon offset market which incentivizes the reduction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the scheme pays landholders for improved water quality.