Massive UNMISS donation offers new hope to resource-deprived hospital in Bor
Imagine a large, regional referral hospital which does not even have standard, everyday items like disinfectants and antibiotics.
UN peacekeepers in Bor did not have to imagine this scenario: they were alerted to this dire reality by local authorities, and they acted. Their massive donation of basic medical supplies to the main health facility in the region is expected to greatly benefit residents like Mary Nyanjok.
“I was here two months ago, when my daughter was diagnosed with malaria. There were no medicines available, so I had to buy what I needed from a private clinic,” she says.
On this day, with the hospital’s supplies replenished, she fares better. Sure, she had to wait in line for an hour, but she received the necessary drugs to treat her nine-month-old infant, who is suffering from a bout of severe malaria.
The peacekeepers, serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, have handed over a total of 24,000 items, falling into 120 categories, ranging from bandages, disinfectants and antibiotics to medical instruments, test kits for different diseases and beds.
“I hope this donation will help South Sudanese people who are suffering from illness,” said Colonel Weon Seung-Gu, Commander of the South Korean contingent responsible for the intervention. His men and women are also aiming to train medical practitioners at the Bor hospital before the end of the year.
Several years of armed conflict have left South Sudan with a severely damaged social infrastructure, and in the Greater Jonglei region the health sector has been particularly badly affected.
On a national level, there is only one doctor per 233,000 inhabitants, and at the Bor hospital, the regions most important health facility, a total of six doctors are expected to serve more than a million people
On an average day, 200 patients visit the hospital, but before the renewal of its medical supplies their chances of getting the necessary treatment were slim, even when suffering from the most commonplace ailments imaginable.
While surgical procedures may still be largely unavailable, the overall situation has improved following the peacekeepers’ intervention.
“Donating medicines and other supplies is like sharing life,” said grateful medical doctor and Director General of the Jonglei health ministry, Samuel Majur.