Juba [South Sudan], Feb 21 (ANI): Indian Peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have been providing critical veterinary support to farmers in the country in a bid to revive the livestock population of the region.
Commander of the Indian Peacekeeping Contingent, Lt. Col. Gaurav Batra said, "Getting into this sphere or getting into this field, we are able to open some bridges. We have the veterinary doctors that are in close interaction with the civilian administration."
"We are able to understand their problems, we are able to communicate more with them and understand their problems and resolve further issues," he added.
Cattle are not only a valuable source of food, but in South Sudan, it is also a commodity for bartering, or as a dowry for marriage, as well as for accumulation of wealth.
The Indian veterinarians are running a mobile clinic travelling across the Upper Nile region, including to remote and dangerous locations, to treat sick cattle and educate their owners about disease prevention.
Indian Peacekeeping Veterinarian, Prashant Tripathi said, "Wherever I went I was being welcomed by people. They were very happy because there was no one, no one to look after them and, and whatever little we could contribute as a veterinarian and part of UNMISS, it is beneficial for them and for the animals,"
"So, I'm happy and satisfied with my job and I hope people or the livestock owners in the Upper Nile are in Upper Nile State are satisfied with my work," he added.
Cattle herders are grateful for the support as many of their animals are anaemic, making them prone to ailments such as foot and mouth disease. Other problems include infected abscesses and fractured legs.
"This is a good thing. The vaccinations carried out by the UNMISS peacekeepers have been going well and we believe it will continue in order to protect our cattle from some diseases," said a local Cattle Keeper.
The treat and educate clinic is funded by the Indian peacekeepers themselves and is complemented by other initiatives to create strong relationships with locals, including organizing sports events and providing engineering support such as building water tanks.
Lt. Col. Gaurav Batra further said, "For us, it is very easy to relate to the problems of the African nations. And, we are the largest democracy in the world, so we understand the problems and the processes."
"We have a huge Indian population which is spread all over the African continent. So, probably that is one of the reasons that we have historical as well as emotional ties with the people," he added.
These ties bind together peacekeepers serving far from home with vulnerable people in desperate need of help in a united effort to build peace, prosperity and a brighter future for South Sudan. (ANI)