26-year-old Mary Abuk has travelled for three hours, barefoot, to reach a medical camp run by Mongolian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in the country’s north.
This is her last hope.
“My son has been sick for a long time,” says the mother of three from Kong, who has brought her youngest son for treatment against typhoid and other complications related to malnutrition.
“I brought him to this facility many times,” she says, pointing at a government hospital where the Mongolians have pitched camp. “But there was no treatment for him because there is no medicine in this hospital. When I heard about these doctors coming, I brought him here. He was examined and given enough medicine at no cost,” says Abuk, her joy and relief evident.
With no access to medical care, schools, and roads, life in the remote village of Kong has not been easy for its inhabitants.
There is only a small health facility run by Care International, and it has run out of medical supplies.
A free mobile health clinic being operated by UN Peacekeepers has given the residents access to the much-needed medical services, and some respite. Long queues of patients can be seen at the site in Kong village, 14 kilometers east of Pariang town. They are waiting to be attended to by a joint medical team of Mongolian and Ghanaian UN Police officers.
“Many people are dying in this remote village where the is no road. You saw how difficult it was for you to reach us in this area when it is raining. Thank God that you have reached us,” she said, as she asked for more: “My appeal to UNMISS is that one week is not enough for us, many people have just got the information and they might take three to four days to reach here. We need you to stay here for another two weeks,” she pleaded.
The area was chosen by Mongolian peacekeepers while on their regular security and confidence-building patrol around Pariang, and recommended support to the population with medical supplies.
“Our mandate is to protect civilians and save them from any harm, including diseases. We will do all we can to provide life-saving material needed here,” said 51-year-old Sergeant Tsolmon Chimed Tsedow, a female peacekeeper who has served for 31 years as a nurse in the Mongolian armed forces.
She said she was happy to see people coming in big numbers to get the treatment.
“Apart from safeguarding the civil population, we are doing all we can to improve the lives of the people in Pariang and South Sudan at large,” said Major Jargalsaikhan Sayanyam, Mongolian Company Commander in Pariang.
The Ruweng area Social Development Minister, Abraham Athuoi, appreciated UNMISS for all the services, including the protection the mission has been providing, noting that the peacekeepers’ decision to come to the area would “always be in the minds of the people” they were serving.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Some respite in Kong village as Mongolian peacekeepers provide much-needed medical services (by Luk Riek Nyak)