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A civil servant in Wau enjoying free medical service provided by UN peacekeepers.
The United Nations Mission Bangladeshi peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have offered free medical services to more than 100 civil servants in Wau.
’’My problem is my kidney because it hurts too much,’’ said Sodinia Edward a 21-year-old woman grateful for the opportunity. ’I was in Juba, I went to the hospital and did a checkup, but they said that they did not have medicines.”
On this day, she could go home with the prescribed drugs in her possession, just like a lot of other patients suffering from health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
‘’Since our arrival, we have been engaged in humanitarian assistance, especially the medical and veterinary services but also some other social programmes,’’ said Colonel Majhuri Heque, commander of the Bangladeshi troops based in Wau, explaining that the work of his men and women is not limited to provide force protection to UN facilities and aid convoys.
Since the onset of the 2016 crisis, most health facilities in Wau have faced shortages of medication, and their clinics have therefore often been brimming with patients often returning home emptyhanded. With a bit of luck, they have been referred to the capital Juba or to Khartoum – in some cases only to be told, like Sodinia, that they do not have the required drugs either.
Simon Akot, local minister of agriculture and fisheries, is aware of the precarious situation. He has lived with diabetes and blood pressure issues since 2012. He would like the peacekeeping mission’s medical staff to extend their services to villages in the area. where medical services are either unavailable or too expensive for the residents.
‘’We [the government] have little chance of affording to buy the medicines needed,” he explains, adding that many villagers resort to leaves and roots which may, or may not, have medicinal properties.