Food, protective equipment, cleaning products and even beds were among the many useful things gratefully received by Bor State Hospital after United Nations Volunteers serving with the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan acted together to collect the items.
You could say that peace begins with healthcare. This is our way of supporting the ongoing peace efforts in the country, hoping that the handing over of all of this will lead to the people of Jonglei getting improved access to basic medical care. --Maria Guadalupe, one of the peacekeepers, on behalf of all volunteers involved in the generous initiative
Doctor Ajak Garang affirmed that the unexpected assistance will make the intended difference, not least the extra beds.
" At times, patients come here and must sleep on the floor, which is of course far from ideal. With this extra capacity, we shall not have to face that kind of situation as often as before. Your kindness can indeed help us save lives," the Doctor said.
The timing of the provided support was seemingly impeccable, with the hospital’s Director of Health, Doctor Bol Chaw, explaining that their facilities are currently constantly full.
"We are witnessing an almost unprecedented influx of patients because floods and insecurity have made many people relocate to Bor. We have been unable to cope with demands, we have even had to refer patients to Juba for simple services like x-rays and ultrasound," he says, adding that even more resources will be needed to meet all needs.
With its capacity still being insufficient, Bor State Hospital will need to take extra care of available resources, including its staff taking care of general services.
The protective equipment we have been given means a lot. It will help keep us safe from diseases as we go about cleaning the place, and extra cleanliness will, in turn, benefit our patients. --Ayak Ajuon Ajak, Bor hospital
With alarming rates of infant and child mortality, a life expectancy of just 56.5 years and frequent shortages of both drugs and medical equipment, the public healthcare system of South Sudan can do with all the assistance it can get.
The referral hospital in the Greater Jonglei Region has at least received a first such supportive installment, thanks to volunteers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. Maybe peace, after all, begins with big hearts, compassion, and a healthy dose of volunteerism.
This article was first published by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).