UNMISS veterinarians mark World Veterinary Day with a free camp for livestock owners in Malakal
Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state have commemorated World Veterinary Day by conducting a much-needed veterinary aid camp in Malakal.
Hundreds of domestic animals, including dogs and poultry, were treated, dewormed and given a new lease of life by the Indian veterinarians who are part of a battalion based here.
Most importantly, 12 community animal health workers received hands-on training in administering medicines and handling basic veterinary equipment.
One of the trainees, Elizabeth Amum, a cattle-keeper, acknowledged the role played by UNMISS peacekeepers in supporting livestock owners to retain a sustainable income and take proper care of their animals.
“Prior to this training session, most of us had very rudimentary knowledge on how to keep our cows healthy and disease-free,” revealed Elizabeth. However, now I’m confident that not only can I identify common diseases that could attack my animals, but I also know how to prevent them from falling sick,” she said.
The eager and enthusiastic group of trainees in Malakal are now able to provide basic services to livestock owners in the area and can manage common livestock ailments and treatment of the same, plus have an increased level of knowledge regarding good animal husbandry practices.
“Sound disease management practices will lead to an increase in the production of meat, eggs and milk,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Varghese, a veterinary doctor from the Indian battalion attached to the UN peacekeeping mission here. “This will not only guarantee food security but also help build immunity against various diseases.”
Indian peacekeepers received appreciation from state authorities, specially the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Mary William. “Our focus has been to build capacity among animal workers across the state, and this training provided by UNMISS will go a long way in helping us achieve this goal,” stated Ms. William, adding that state will continue to partner with the UN in this regard.
The South Sudanese population is largely agrarian; people across this young nation have traditionally depended on rearing animals for their livelihood and sustenance. However, the protracted civil war had a devastating impact on community access to basic veterinary services, not to mention a massive loss of livestock.
To counter these effects, UNMISS peacekeepers continue providing immediate interventions aimed at helping livestock farmers in Renk, Kodok and, now, Malakal to local breeders. Furthermore, the Malakal Veterinary hospital was renovated as part of the mission’s Quick Impact Projects programme some two years ago and is currently managed by Indian veterinarians from the mission.
Kueth Met, a Relief, Reintegration and Protection Officer, serving with UNMISS, sums up these efforts:
“Veterinary assistance by our peacekeepers have long-term benefits for the South Sudanese—community confidence is heightened, people’s livelihoods are sustained and, most importantly, those who were displaced during the war can think of returning to their places of origin. The work done by the mission’s veterinarians, thus, is contributing directly to our work in building a durable peace and creating conditions for voluntary and dignified returns.
World Veterinary Day is annually commemorated on the last Saturday of April.