Healthcare in Jonglei receives a boost with an UNMISS handover of solar panels in Duk county

unmiss south sudan bor jonglei duk health covid-19 united nations peacekeepers peacekeeping hospital oxygen solar sustainable quick impact project QIPS

Protecting people and protecting the planet go hand-in-hand, as this UNMISS-funded installation of 20 solar panels at Duk Padiet Primary Healthcare Centre in Jonglei, South Sudan, demonstrates. Photo by Mach Samuel/UNMISS

10 Jun 2022

Healthcare in Jonglei receives a boost with an UNMISS handover of solar panels in Duk county

Mach Samuel

JONGLEI - “We were having massive challenges with electricity connections,” recalls Majok Peter Nyuon, the clinician in charge of Duk Padiet Primary Health Care Centre.

Despite the Centre being relatively modern, the lack of a consistent power supply meant that patients could not receive the care they needed.

All that changed when the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) handed over a 20-panel solar power system in response to a long-standing request from the clinic’s staff and communities living here.

The impact of the UN Peacekeeping mission’s intervention has been almost immediate.

“We can actually maintain a proper cold chain now, ensuring that medicines and vaccinations that are perishable can be stored in appropriate temperatures,” adds Mr. Nyuon enthusiastically.

Not just that, the maternity ward now has ceiling and stand fans that can run continuously as do all in-patient and outpatient departments.

A significant improvement can also be seen in terms of oxygen concentrators, a device that concentrates the oxygen from a gas supply by selectively removing nitrogen to supply an oxygen-enriched product gas stream.

“Our oxygen concentrators can finally work to provide patients oxygen therapy and specially because of COVID-19, this was key for us,” reveals Mr. Nyuon.

UNMISS not only supplied the solar panels but also installed them.

The purchase and installation of these panels was initiated under the mission’s Quick Impact Projects programme, which are low-budget and small in scale but have far-reaching community benefits.

For community leader Mawut Bol Aniek, by providing this source of environmentally friendly energy, UNMISS has actually saved lives.

“We all know that peacekeepers are here to protect us, and in this instance, they have truly ensured that the communities living in and around the healthcare facility will get the medical attention they desperately need at any time. This is life-saving work,” he remarked.

His words are borne out by Nyanwut Manyok, mother to an eight-month-old baby, waiting in line for her turn at a consultation with a doctor.

“I am relieved to know that my child can receive treatment, whether it is night or day. The hospital premises are brightly lit and secure and all the equipment can work now,” she says simply yet eloquently.

“This project is special because it will be sustainable,” says Gilbert Nantsa, Team Leader of the mission’s Protection, Transition and Reintegration arm in Bor.

“Sunlight is abundantly available in the county all year around; it is cost-effective; and, importantly, it protects both people and the planet,” he adds.

The project was implemented by local partner, Impact Action Organization.