UNMISS peacekeepers provide free medicines to vulnerable people in Wau
“I came here because am sick with a stomach problem and my son has malaria and a bad cough,” explained Santino Luka as he gratefully received free medicine from Bangladeshi peacekeepers at a special clinic in Wau.
The Bangladeshi contingent, serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, provided essential drugs for more than 300 people in dire need at the Teaching Hospital in Wau, in the Western Bahr El Ghazel region.
The medicine for malaria, coughs and skin diseases was handed out based on prescriptions given to patients by doctors at the hospital.
The Teaching Hospital receives some drugs from the national Ministry of Health every three months, but demand is very high given the hospital services communities across the entire north-west of South Sudan.
“I have been sick since last week and heard that there is medication here that is why I came,” said Umjuma Mario, a 48-year mother of 4 children.
She and other patients appreciate the support from the peacekeepers because they simply can’t afford to buy the medicine they desperately need.
“I am sick and was given a prescription by the doctor but did not get the medicine in the hospital. I was told to buy it from the pharmacy, but I have no money,” said Sunday Lino, a medical student who is training in the hospital.
The Acting Medical Director of Wau Teaching Hospital acknowledged the support of the peacekeepers for those in need but said more support for the hospital was needed.
“In terms of children alone, we are receiving more than 150 patients every day. It’s the same or even more in terms of adult patients,” said Dr. Otim Peter. “Our illnesses are seasonal with malaria being the highest percentage of cases. The peacekeepers have medicine to help, including painkillers and antibiotics.”
Lieutenant Colonel Morshed Mojur, from the Bangladeshi contingent, said the free medical campaign was part of their outreach to build strong relationships with the communities they serve. It is carried out in addition to their usual mandated work in Wau.
“We came here to support people who are suffering. We do that every day as part of our mandate to protect civilians and build peace. But we can also help people by providing medicine from our home country free of charge. It’s the least we can do,” he said.