UNMISS peacekeepers from Bangladesh provide veterinary support in Western Bahr-el-Ghazal
Bangladeshi veterinarians serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), have stepped up to help livestock owners across Western Bahr-el-Ghazal by means of a mobile veterinary clinic.
Unprecedented mooing, bleating and friendly shoving in the queue soon ensued as ailing beasts, each convinced of its own rationale for demanding priority, lined up for a check-up.
“Our veterinary doctors consistently engage with animal breeders and owners to not only help them treat sick animals but also to build their capacities to ensure that they are able to take care of their livestock themselves in the long term,” explains Lieutenant Colonel Mizanur Rahman from Bangladesh. “This builds trust and confidence among communities because livestock breeding is their primary source of income.”
Peacekeepers treated animals for various conditions including anemia, malaria, diarrhea, foot and mouth disease as well as infected abscesses and malnutrition.
Animal breeders were grateful to UNMISS for the initiative.
“Protecting our animals from diseases and making sure they are vaccinated is very important for us,” says Marial Malual, a cattle herder from Khromalong who came along for the occasion. “We cannot survive if our cattle have diseases because they provide us with milk which we can sell in local markets to put food on our tables. I am, therefore, very appreciative of these UNMISS veterinarians and their assistance.”
For their part, peacekeepers find such community engagements rewarding.
“Our main mandated task is to protect civilians. Providing communities with the help they need to lead productive, fulfilled lives is something that we, as Blue Helmets, feel is part of our commitment to building a durable peace across South Sudan. It is heartening to experience the immensely warm welcome we have received from local populations while running this mobile clinic. We feel we have made a difference to their lives,” avers Lieutenant-Colonel Rahman, a Bangladeshi veterinarian.
The mobile clinic has been funded by peacekeepers themselves and is part of the mission’s ongoing activities to engage with and assist host communities across this young nation.