UPPER NILE STATE – “Livestock is life for us,” says Anyang Agou Adop, Executive Director of Renk County, Upper Nile State in South Sudan.
“Our animals allow us to put food on the table, educate our children and ensure we have enough money to make ends meet,” he added.
However, animal herders in Renk, Upper Nile, South Sudan, were scared recently when an outbreak of disease caused many of their livestock to suffer and sometimes die.
Help, however, was around the corner, thanks to Indian vets deployed with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), who traveled to Renk and Gusrom from Malakal to run a veterinary assistance camp and two-day animal health awareness.
“We come to South Sudan with a very specific objective: to protect civilians and keep the peace,” said Lt. Col. Phillip Varghese, an Indian peacekeeper.
“Helping people maintain their livelihoods goes a long way towards peacebuilding efforts in this young nation. So we make sure that the communities we serve trust us and contact us whenever they need help,” the Lt. Col. added.
In this case, it was the communities and local authorities who came together with UNMISS, their partner for peace, in the face of a difficult situation.
During the two-day outreach, dedicated veterinarians treated a total of 1,749 animals for a range of conditions, including tick-borne problems, parasitic infestations, diarrhea, anemia, abscesses, mastitis, superficial wounds, pneumonia, pica, etc.
In addition, Indian peacekeepers have also built the capacity of local herders in regular deworming of their animals, tick prevention as well as good animal management practices.
For Mr. Adop, Indian peacekeepers are longtime allies in helping communities when they need it most.
“UNMISS and, in particular, Indian peacekeepers have stood shoulder to shoulder with Renk communities over the years. This camp, which has been well attended and has been a great help to people, is just one more example of how we are working together to shape a better life for everyone. I ask them to carry out similar animal health awareness initiatives in Upper Nile,” he said.
His words are backed up by the smile on a cattle rancher’s face after vets treat his animals.
“To see my pets get almost instant relief from the medication and care provided to them is like a dream come true. I am grateful,” said the pet owner, who preferred to remain anonymous.