A UN Volunteer in South Sudan, Lydia Mpeh, is at the forefront of the battle against Covid-19 in the country. She serves as a medical laboratory technician in the Rumbek region, using her expertise to manage the lab at a hospital operated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
She stated, ‘My assignment entails collecting and testing samples from people who may be affected by [Covid-19], as well as anyone who has had contact with them. I am responsible for ensuring proper laboratory diagnosis, the availability of reagents (substances added to a system to test if a reaction occurs), and the functioning of our equipment. As [a]medical personnel, I am on the frontline of fighting this pandemic and keeping our UN staff safe, so that they can continue to carry out their very important work’, she said.
Mpeh added, ‘At this critical moment when the world is grappling with the [Covid-19] pandemic, my prayer is that we should remain calm, vigilant, support each other and practise the prevention strategies shared with us by authorities. Together we shall emerge as champions’.
UNMISS is making a significant contribution to the national-led effort to respond to Covid-19. It is renovating hospitals across the country, installing water tanks and generators, providing tents and beds to help treat more people in local communities, as well as supplying personal protection equipment and ambulances. About 45 of the 111 medical civilian personnel serving in UNMISS locations across South Sudan are international UN Volunteers. Their vast experience makes them well-prepared for the Covid-19 crisis and they are carefully following all guidelines established by the UN, as well as working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health in South Sudan.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and Head of UNMISS, David Shearer, remarked, ‘These volunteers are working long hours in difficult conditions, far away from their families and friends, to make a difference [in]the lives of people in need. They really are unsung heroes not only in the battle against [Covid-19] but also in enabling the UN to carry out all of its life-saving and life-changing work for communities across South Sudan’.
Source: United Nations
Photo source: UN Women Asia and the Pacific