New healthcare unit handed over by UNMISS gives communities in Labalwa cause for joy

unmiss protection of civilians quick impact projects peacebuilding healthcare maternity eastern equatoria

UNMISS recently handed over a seven-room primary healthcare unit with antenatal facilities, a pharmacy and delivery beds for expectant mothers to communities in Labalwa, Eastern Equatoria. Prior to this, residents had to trek for 9 kilometers to Torit to access basic health and medical services. The handover falls under the mission's Quick Impact Projects programme. Photo by Okello James/UNMISS

5 Oct 2021

New healthcare unit handed over by UNMISS gives communities in Labalwa cause for joy

Okello James

“With this new health facility, our community is relieved from the burden of travelling long distances to access medication in Torit town, which is far from our village,” revealed John Ongorony, Chairperson of the Labalwa community in Eastern Equatoria.

Labalwa is located along the Torit-Kapoeta highway and has an estimated population of 2,000 people; but many residents have had to travel to Torit and other places for medical care and education.

That members of the community will no longer need to trek nine kilometers to access health care services is cause for much joy, as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has handed over a new primary health care unit to the community.

The seven-room facility which includes an antenatal unit, a pharmacy, and an admissions ward, is equipped with delivery beds for expectant mothers and a 5000-liter capacity water tank.

Many mothers in the area have had difficulties in accessing antenatal care services due to lack of mobility. As such, some of them end up giving birth at home, which is always risky.

“Women from my community will not suffer again now that we have received this facility. Previously, we lost several pregnant mothers during childbirth in our village; stillbirths were common too,” said Ohitik Jackline, a community member.

The new building, which was funded under the mission’s Quick Impact Projects programme, was constructed by local implementing partner, Ark for Humanity.

“It’s our hope that the construction of this primary healthcare unit will ensure increased access to basic maternal and childcare services and encourage returns,” said Caroline Waudo, the Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Torit.

For his part, Patrick Oting Cyprian, Acting Governor of Eastern Equatoria State and Minister of Information, assured communities gathered for the handover ceremony of the state’s readiness to collaborate with partners in providing services for residents. 

“We stand with the community of Labalwa and our partners; we are especially grateful to UNMISS for implementing several projects in Eastern Equatoria that benefit the local population. Your efforts remain crucial to the people,” he said.

This brings the total number of Quick Impact Projects implemented by UNMISS in Eastern Equatoria State since 2012 to 29. Projects completed include water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, local court halls, and detention cells which were all identified by local communities as their most pressing needs.