Indian peacekeepers in Malakal win hearts and minds through free veterinary services
UPPER NILE – In South Sudan, livestock is one of the main income sources for many households. However, scarcity of adequate veterinary support continues to prove a challenge for animal breeders.
Enter Indian veterinarians serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)—these dedicated peacekeepers deployed to Malakal in Upper Nile recently held a free veterinary camp to support livestock owners.
“We treated more than 1,533 cattle, goats and sheep for various diseases, including parasitic infections, tick infestations and anaemia,” said Lieutenant Colonel Dinesh Nagar, an Indian vet.
Vitally, peacekeepers enhanced capacities among animal owners by training them on detecting early symptoms of common ailments and educated them on the benefits of rotational grazing to protect their habitats.
“We consistently engage with animal owners and raise awareness about preventive measures, handling of food of animal origin and other best practices in livestock management that ensure optimum health and productivity,” revealed Dr. Nagar.
“The objective is to encourage sustainable livestock rearing practices so that they are able to make a consistent living,” he added.
For Samuel Peter, a cattle owner, such interventions by UNMISS have proven to be a beacon of hope.
“We were lacking veterinary facilities in this area and Indian peacekeepers have been a godsend,” he stated with gratitude.
“Not only have they helped treat our animals, but we have learned a lot about animal and disease management,” he added.
For Samuel and other livestock owners, the assistance rendered by Blue Helmets have had an immediate impact, while for peacekeepers, such interactions with local communities go to the heart of the UN Peacekeeping mission’s mandate.
“We are here to help build a durable peace,” said Dr. Nagar. “That peace starts with empowering local communities.”