South Sudan NEWS PORTAL (JUBA CITY)
By Jok WaMonychok, Juba, South Sudan
Friday, July 31, 2020 (PW) — When it comes to saving the nation, a lot remains to be said about the genuine men and women who have continued to be the unsung heroes of our contemporary South Sudan. Thus, it is of paramount importance to bring to spotlight one of these men and women who persistently work to bring about positive change to our country not through politics, but through health and education.
Dr. Anthony Matiok is a Clinical Officer by profession and the founder and Executive Director of Friends of Humanity. He has been championing Hepatitis awareness campaign since the establishment of Friend of Humanity.
As a clinical officer by profession, he took the initiative to close the gap on low knowledge on Viral Hepatitis by committing himself to the task and believes that he has a role to play in South Sudan especially with his profession.
Dr. Anthony Matiok not only creates awareness, but also advocates for vaccination of healthcare workers who are athigher risk of contracting viral Hepatitis, introduction of birth vaccine for newborns and screening of pregnant mothers who are attending antenatal care clinics.
Friend of Humanity on the other hand, is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit making organization registered on 29th June, 2018 with its operational activities of awareness in Juba. Since it serves humanity to its core principle, the organization seeks to foster relations within the people of South Sudan for the purpose of developing and transforming the communities to arrive at an attractive healthy and educated dwelling place for present and future generations through peaceful and voluntary participation in delicate matters of health and education.
Friend of Humanity envisions specialization in provision of quality healthcare services and education in areas where they are desperately needed. It seeks partnership with local and international philanthropists to advance humanitarian work in South Sudan. Its thematic areas of work are health, education, WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) and nutrition.
What’s touching and inspiring about Dr. Anthony Matiok is the fact that, despite lack of funds, the vision and objectives which compelled him to found the organization are being implemented. There are no donors funding the fight against Hepatitis (note that Hepatitis is categorized into A, B, C, D, and E). Therefore, it is left to individual countries to fund the fight through the ministry of health. However, with the deficit in the budget and the fight against malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS as the top priorities in sub-Saharan Africa, it is difficult to fund the fight against Hepatitis by the government.
Dr. Anthony Matiok works in hardship to serve the nation without funds where it is difficult to be acknowledged or appreciated for sacrificing for the sake of the nation. It is difficult here to appreciate someone who will not give money or position. And If there are people who appreciate his services, it is radio stations that act as the platforms for his campaign against hepatitis. Appreciation goes particularly to Maraya Fm, Eye Radio, City Capital Fm, and Sama Fm. He is frequently on air spreading the message on the need to face squarely the viral hepatitis.
Dr. Anthony also uses churches, funerals, weddings, and other community gatherings to disseminate the information to the people. He has thrown away shyness and other negative attitudes about what others would think about him. As a wiry manwithout known uncle supporting him, it is difficult for him to attract the attention of anyone. Still, he seizes every opportunity to talk and use it for campaigning against hepatitis.
One afternoon last week, I met him immediately after finishing his talk show with the City Capital. I had told him that I was along Kololo road. It took him long to come and I was surprised. People who are familiar to the distance between Catholic University campus and City Capital radio station can attest to the fact that it takes only three minutes by bodaboda to arrive.
When he finally came, I immediately concluded he was carryingout all these activities through public transport and on foot when he runs short of money. I inwardly admired his dedication and patriotism. I later asked him what motivated him to choose an area which is not lucrative as others might have rejected it because it had no donors. He replied:
“Apart from the fact that I am a health practitioner, being a citizen with a burden to exercise my duties compelled me to choose the area which is in dire need of attention and work. Hepatitis B is killing many people more than HIV/AIDS and the worst is that, people are not aware.
“With the current economic hardship, majority of citizens cannot afford treatment. Thus, they end up dying. I feel that it isimperative to create awareness in order to instill wisdom in our people that prevention is better than cure. Everyone has to be vaccinated and that would be my reward. I don’t need anotherreward – my reward is the realization of hepatitis-free South Sudan.”
I have come to realize that the working of a nation is not an easy thing as we have perceived in the beginning. There are many fronts open to enemies. Our government alone cannot guarantee us safety if we cross our arms and legs and sit, waiting for things to happen by themselves.
Dr. Anthony Matiok and his ilk can choose another areas of benefit with creamy returns and work there. But their conscience tells them to do the contrary. Our society adore and worship people with wealth and political positions forgetting that there are unsung heroes who need nothing in return to serve the nation.
For instance, if a teacher and politician attend a function and there is only chance for talking, it will be given to politician because he has money and position. The teacher is sacrificed, ignoring the knowledge that he gives everyone which makes everyone the politician, business, doctor, engineer, name them.
It is also true for a doctor and a businessman. A businessman will take the only chance because he will pledge huge amount of money in the end of his speech. Still, a doctor will not take back his services. He will continue saving lives without anything in return.
To bring my article to a dignified conclusion, I would like to make it clear that Dr. Anthony Matiok and his ilk have our country at heart. And if there is any way we can support them, it is through acknowledgement and appreciation. This is the surest way of adding combustion to their desire, dedication and patriotism.
Someone like me who have nothing to give him has to applaud him and let’s hope for better days ahead. Men and women like him will be honoured with models and have their names written in the book of patriots.
The writer is a graduand of Economics at Catholic University of South Sudan. He is a Business Strategist and the author of the upcoming novel entitled: The Twisted Destiny. He is reachable via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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