Saturday, August 31, 2019

S. Sudan: Chinese doctors offer free medical services

THIS is good news.  Chinese doctors are offering free medical services and training in traditional medicine across South Sudan. 

The use of traditional Chinese medicine (TMC) has a history of about 2,000 years and it involves various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and dietary therapy.

Since 2013, Chinese doctors have offered free medical services across South Sudan and also helped with capacity building of health workers.  Seems like a good career opportunity for students. Read more below.

Article from Xinhuanet.com - Editor: yan
Date published 03 August 2019 00:20:24
Chinese doctors train South Sudan students in traditional medicine
JUBA, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The seventh batch of the China medical team in South Sudan on Friday organized a day-long lecture about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for medical students at the Upper Nile University.

About a hundred students of medicine and nursing turned up for the lecture given by TCM expert Tang Youbin.

"It was a great chance to learn and if there is any possibility of further learning, I will expand my knowledge and bring it to South Sudan," said Nyikang Andrew Awut, a fifth-year medical student.

John Akot, chairperson of Nursing Students Association at Upper Nile University, said the training was helpful because it exposed some of the cultural practices shared between South Sudanese and Chinese communities.

Akot appreciated the Chinese doctors for sharing their knowledge with the people of South Sudan, adding that he would seek further training in TCM if there are opportunities in the future.

"The lecture was beneficial for me and if I get any chance to learn, I will apply so that I learn more about it," he said.

According to Tang, the use of TCM has a history of about 2,000 years and it involves various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and dietary therapy.

Tang said the training was part of efforts by the Chinese doctors to promote the use of TCM in South Sudan's healthcare system.

Among the various TCM remedies, acupuncture, used in the treatment of body pains and several physical and emotional illnesses through pricking the skin or tissues with needles, has so far gained popularity in South Sudan.

"When we came to South Sudan, the first thing for us is cross culture. I want to know your culture and you can know our culture and traditional Chinese medicine is one way of knowing our culture," Tang said.

Simon Deng, Dean of College of Medicine at Upper Nile University said the training exposed the medical students to various forms of therapies used to treat illness across the world.

He said the university seeks to increase engagements with the Chinese doctors in the areas of capacity building.

Since 2013, Chinese doctors have offered free medical services across South Sudan and also helped with capacity building of health workers.

The seventh batch of the Chinese doctors, composed of 13 specialists and two support staff, are currently stationed at the Juba Teaching and Referral Hospital. They will also be conducting routine outreach programs during their one-year stay in South Sudan.

S. Sudan works to protect wildlife

Article from Associated Press
By Sam Mednick
Date of publication: Saturday, 27 July 2019 Updated 9:21 am CDT 
South Sudan tries to protect wildlife after long conflict

In this photo of Saturday March 16 2019, Rangers walk in a field near the Bire Kpatous game reserve along the Congolese border. South Sudan is trying to rebuild its vast national parks and game reserves following a five-year civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people. The conflict stripped the country of much wildlife but biodiversity remains rich with more than 300 mammal species, including 11 primates, but poaching is a growing threat. IMAGE 1 OF 12. Photo by Sam Mednick, AP
BIRE KPATOUS GAME RESERVE, South Sudan (AP) — Charles Matthew secures his beret, slings a rifle over his shoulder and prepares a team for an overnight foot patrol in Bire Kpatous, one of South Sudan's game reserves that survived the country's civil war but are now increasingly threatened by poachers and encroaching human settlements.

Matthew, 45, said he's proud of his work after years of being a soldier and has learned a lot about wildlife. "I didn't even know the names of species like aardvark, pangolin, crocodile and chimpanzee," he said of his knowledge when he started as a ranger 14 years ago.

But he worries about the reserve: "When poachers come and are well-armed, we can't get there in time."
South Sudan is trying to rebuild its six national parks and 13 game reserves, which cover more than 13% of the country's terrain, following the five-year civil war that ended last year after killing nearly 400,000 people. A fragile peace deal still has key steps to carry out.

The fighting stripped the country of much wildlife and the parks are rudimentary, lacking lodges, visitors' centers and roads. There is no significant tourism; the parks department does not even keep statistics on the number of visitors.

"Given these challenges, the biodiversity of South Sudan is in peril," said DeeAnn Reeder, a conservationist and professor at Bucknell University who has done research there. She called conservation efforts "significant but relatively small in scale given the vastness of the country" that still has the potential for surprise. The documentation of forest elephants in South Sudan was a "very significant find."

That biodiversity remains rich with more than 300 mammal species, including 11 primates. The country boasts one of Africa's greatest annual antelope migrations.

Now the biggest threat to the country's wildlife is poaching, the scourge that afflicts parks and reserves across Africa.

Bire Kpatous, near the Congo border and a convergence point for flora and fauna from Central and East Africa, has one of the region's "forgotten forests," as some conservationists call them. It is home to animals such as bongo antelopes, badger bats, African golden cats, forest elephants and forest buffalos.

The spread of unlicensed firearms, however, threatens to decimate wildlife while the resources to combat it are scarce. South Sudan's government allocated nearly $6 million for the parks and reserves last year, a figure considered woefully inadequate by some local authorities.

Western Equatoria state, where Bire Kpatous is located, has just one car for the 184 rangers overseeing three game reserves and one national park.

Some donors are stepping up. South Sudan last month received a pledge of $7.6 million from the United States Agency for International Development and another $1.5 million from the Wildlife Conservation Society to protect the parks.

Insecurity remains a challenge as unrest from the civil war continues. Western Equatoria state's national park, Southern Park, has been almost completely cut off from rangers' patrols since opposition fighters occupied parts of it in 2015, said Jonathan Nyari, former state director for wildlife services.
Bire Kpatous is also threatened by encroaching human settlements. Residents already burn swaths of land surrounding the park to clear it for cultivation. Rangers are working to foster support for the parks among local residents, who sometimes go out on patrol with rangers.

"Whenever we patrol the forest we sleep separately. In case we're attacked by poachers at least one person might survive," said Masimino Pasquale, a resident working with the rangers.

Residents say they often hear gunshots in the park but are without transport to investigate, said Samuel Apollo, the community's chief.

Another resident and wildlife advocate, Philip Michael, said he was threatened with death last year by people who blamed him for not "allowing them to kill animals."
The Britain-based Fauna & Flora International is teaching rangers and community members how to use a GPS, set camera traps and establish sustainable practices. The group also is trying to help South Sudan develop conservation tourism as an alternative source of revenue for a country whose economy is almost entirely dependent on oil.

While progress is slow, several rangers said they are seeing more signs of animals during patrols than they did last year.

Local teacher Isaac Pisiru said he wants to organize field trips to the park so his students will learn the importance of protecting animals.

"If I don't teach them about protecting animals, people will start destroying them," he said. "It's important for children to see animals physically and not just in books."

Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa 

Friday, August 30, 2019

British forces helping Vietnam People’s Army prepare to take over running of UN hospital in Bentiu S. Sudan

Article from Plymouth Herald UK
By MAX CHANNON
Dated 04 July 2019 15:38
Royal Navy helps Vietnam People’s Army prepare for Sudan mission

British Army and Royal Air Force medics also in Hanoi
Vietnam People’s Army personnel and international medical experts begin the table-top Exercise.

Medics from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force have been helping the Vietnam People’s Army prepare to take over the running of a UN hospital in South Sudan

A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Hanoi said: "As part of the continued cooperation between the UK and Vietnam on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UN PKO) issues, medical personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force are working alongside members of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) during a Tactical Training Exercise/Field Training Exercise (TTX/FTX) at 301 Infantry Division, Hanoi from 18 June-1 July 2019.

"Reflecting the international nature of UN PKOs, the British military medical experts have been joined at the TTX/FTX by experts from the USA Army, Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force.

"Together, the UK, VPA, Australian and USA personnel are working to help prepare Vietnamese military personnel from Military Hospital 103 and the Military Medical University who will deploy to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in October 2019, where they will take over the UNMISS Bentiu Level 2 Hospital from their Military Hospital 175 colleagues."

The facility provides medical care to over 1,800 military and civilian UN staff working in the remote Protection of Civilians site in the north of South Sudan.
Vietnam People’s Army personnel study the layout of the Bentiu Level 2 Hospital

"The Exercise began with a table-top TTX, which will allow the VPA personnel to discuss scenarios they are likely to face during their time in South Sudan and devise potential solutions. The FTX element of the Exercise will begin on 22 June 2019 and will be held in a full-scale mock-up of the Level 2 Hospital used in Bentiu.

The UK Defence Attaché, Group Captain David Houghton, said: “The professionalism and dedication of the VPA personnel currently deployed to Bentiu has been clear to all the nations who form part of UNMISS.

"The current TTX/FTX will ensure that the personnel from Military Hospital 103 and the Military Medical University who will deploy to Bentiu in October 2019 will be fully-prepared to continue the excellent work that is currently being carried out by Military Hospital 175 personnel.”

Sudan: Disgusting! Barbaric camel herders! This is animal cruelty! Why is this allowed to happen??

Published: 13 July 2019 13:18
1k shares. 62 comments

Sudan's camel trade industry has remained steady part despite the nation's recent political upheaval that saw Omar al-Bashir ousted after three decades of ruling the country with an iron fist.

Traders from across African nation descend daily on the El Molih camel market, in the city of Omdurman, west of the capital Khartoum, to buy and sell herds of the desert animal.  

Some camels are sent to slaughter houses for meat, while superior breeds are exported to Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates to take part in multi-million pound races. 
Camel traders from across Sudan descend daily on the El Molih camel market, in the city of Omdurman, west of the capital Khartoum, to buy and sell herds of the desert animal. 

Transporting the animal is a difficult task for the traders who have to use a mobile crane to move them on to trucks.

Photographs for a recent market day shows camels being harnessed to a crane with its front and hind legs bound to restrict its movement.

The desert animals are then carefully lifted to the back of rigs bound for Egypt, Israel or Gulf nations. 
The camel's legs are bound together to restrict its movement while it is being lifted up by a crane that is moving it to the back of a truck
The desert animals are then carefully lifted to the back of rigs bound for Egypt, Israel or Gulf nations
The price of each camel depends on what purpose the animal is sold for. Some camels are sent to slaughter houses for meat 
A camel sold for meat can be sold between 60,000 to 90,000 Sudanese pounds (£1,058 to £1,587)

The price of each camel depends on what purpose the animal is sold for.
A camel sold for meat can be sold between 60,000 to 90,000 Sudanese pounds (£1,058 to £1,587).

But the camels destined for racing in the Gulf nations can be sold for as much as 1.5 million Sudanese pounds (£26,447) each. 
Superior camel breeds are exported to Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates to take part in multi-million pound races
Camels destined for racing in the Gulf nations can be sold for as much as 1.5 million Sudanese pounds (£26,447) each
In this image a herder tends to a camel with its legs bound, ready to be board to the back of a truck after being sold 
A camel is pictured sitting on its bound legs as another camel behind it growls at one of the herders as it is being lifted by the crane
Herders pictured here adjust the harness straps around a camel before it is lifted on to the back of a truck

Following al-Bashir's ousting in April, many camel traders have been oblivious to the country's biggest political upheaval in decades.

Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed, a camel seller, said: 'With or without Bashir, this country is just the same for us.' 
'All we are interested in is whether the price of livestock goes up or down,' he added.
In this image a herder (pictured in the centre) ducks for cover as a grumpy camel fights the crane lifting it up in the air, while another camel tries to buck its legs  
A herder watches on as another angry camel tries to fight the crane as it lifts it up in the air to be boarded on the back of a truck 
A camel tries to free itself despite its legs being bound

Ali Habiballah, 52, another camel trader, said: 'What protests? We have all that we need in the desert -- water, food and livestock, we don't have any demands.' 

His son added: 'We don't care about politics. I don't even go to Khartoum.'

Sudan was first rocked by a political crisis since December 19, when protests erupted against the tripling of bread prices by the then government of Bashir.
A camel trader sits on the hump of a sitting camel at El-Molih camel market
Seven camels are on show by this trader looking to sell the herd
[End of article]

THE MAJORITY OF THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS POSTED AT THE ABOVE U.K. ARTICLE ONLINE ARE FROM THE U.K.

- Feel really sorry for some of those camels, some very underweight and visible scars. It must be frustrating for them to have their legs tied up and made to stay in that position unable to escape their situation and no food or water. Then to be lifted up like that must be very frightening and stressful, poor animals.

- Horrible people. Animal abuse is sin.
- Poor creatures.

- That's cruel breaks my heart.

- Grumpy? The animals would be distressed and terrified. These people are impervious to the feelings of animals, they always have been.

- Most of those poor wretched creatures will be slaughter in the most inhumane way, camel meat is common in that part of the world.

- Dont get the hump. Thats pretty awfully considering thier horrible fate. Scummers.

- They will be slaughtered for food the ritual Halal way. ...they will suffer more fear & pain..

- This makes me so sad. We are the most horrible creatures on the planet.

- Indeed we are.

- Look at the way their legs are tied. You'd complain, too if someone all but hog tied you. Poor things.

- Trussed up like a dead turkey and then craned onto a lorry I'd be pi ssed off too!

- That's So Cruel. Those creatures are so beautiful. That picture broke my heart. It looked so painful too 

- The way we treat animals on this earth is appalling. Re: dog meat festival (story I could not read), bull fighting, rhinoceros poaching, etc.

- The way they treat human beings why would anyone expect anything different for camels?

- This awful practice and bad animal treatment in general often governs the camel trade. The animals are can be obstinate and mean spirited; theyre strong and have lots of endurance, so theyre hard to *govern.*. Theyre seen as commodities like our pickup trucks, so the cranes seem like the right thing to resort to. This is a country where male overseers use whips on women farm workers if theyre perceived to be picking too slowly. I think the camels got the better deal.

- Ever heard of a ramp? They could have walked onto the truck themselves.

- Deplorable.

- Grumpy? Might have something to do with having their legs tied. Or just being starved and tortured in general. I might be a tad grumpy myself.

- I have a feeling this animal will be extinct soon, this is cruel.
- This is barbaric! Horrific treatment, it makes me sick.
- Notice ALL THE SCARS on these animals...they have really been through it! Poor things!

- These people have ZERO respect for Animals, women and children...abusing all. It's so disgusting.

- These animals take 2 hours to die when ritually slaughtered.

- They have no feelings for animals ...if the animals can't work or be eaten they have no use for them.

- This is disgusting. Please dont use these camel rides. You are contributing to their cruelty.

- Poor poor creatures - I cannot believe the DM can make light of this with a bad pun for a headline? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

- Camels are awesome gifts from God that are a benefit to the people. 

- This is horrific and not a joking matter DM. Those poor camels. It's abuse. Change the headline. It's not funny.

- Disgusting! This is animal cruelty, plain and simple!

- Why is this allowed to happen??

- Animal cruelty alive and well all around the world. Disgusting.

- Poor camels! I'm not surprised that they look so unhappy, tied up then thrown about like rubbish. These are living creatures for god sake!! :(

- Heartbreaking. Animal cruelty makes my blood boil.

- Is this supposed to be a funny article?? Some of those animals look underfed and ab.used. The only animals in the pictures are the handlers. Too many outdated articles by the Mail in recent days. Did they pull this article from the 80s archive?

- Seen what happens to them and it's awful.

- This is horrible. PLEASE if anyone does go abroad for any reason, NEVER ride camels or elephants or any other tourist animal transport like donkeys, asses or mules etc.. These animals are rarely looked after, cruelly treated with beatings and often deprived of sufficient medical care, food and water. Just use your feet or hire something with wheels not legs. There is no excuse these days, in the age of the internet where such cruel practices can be easily be researched, to ride living transport in ignorance of the truth. Never go to other entertainments involving use of animals either (e.g, circuses, races or elephant polo etc.) or give money to anyone using an animal as a prop to beg either (e.g, snake charmers, harnessed monkeys etc.) The more you do your bit to stop fuelling this industry the more likely the locals will need to make their money differently.

- Absolutely disgusting those poor animals!

- Thats awful! Poor camel looks in great distress.

- The straps are evenly spreading the weight out. These camels are fine.

- I imagine that's rather painful & frightening to those poor camels. Get it together people!

- Send peta over there see how they do compared to protesting chicken plants If no one caught it those are going to food processing.

- Poor things.

- Mobile crane? Your lack of knowledge and good journalism astounds me. Free lesson: it's a loader with a fork attachment.

- The media celebrates this atrocious behavior.

- This is horrific. They aren't "grumpy", they are terrified!!!!
- Poor animals.

- They are not grumpy they are terrified, why report it this way? Just plain cruelty and abuse

- Feel really sorry for some of those camels, some very underweight and visible scars. It must be frustrating for them to have their legs tied up and made to stay in that position unable to escape their situation and no food or water. Then to be lifted up like that must be very frightening and stressful, poor animals.

- You'd never ever get away with treating farm animals like that here (although God knows they did long enough in UK and IRL)(live exports a total disgrace as well). Don't know why we tolerate it elsewhere in countries with whom we do biz.

- DO NOT be so nave, farm animals are treated appallingly her and everywhere else !!!

- This is awful!

- Dreadful cruelty. Poor camels!

- That's terrible poor things.

- Cruel practice.

- Camel doesn't look too happy.

- So much suffering !

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sudan: PM Hamdok needs to curtail defence budget - Imposing cuts on the generals is a perilous assignment

Article from the BBC 
By Alex De WaalSudan analyst
Dated 28 August 2019
Sudan crisis: Activists achieve 'big win' over generals
Sudan's pro-democracy movement has achieved its biggest victory - getting the junta to agree to a civilian government.

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have hammered out a deal with the generals who took power after the fall of long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir.

They have agreed to a 39-month transitional period. During this time, Sudan's ultimate authority will be a Sovereign Council of five civilians and five generals, with an eleventh member to chair it - initially a soldier, later a civilian.

A technocratic government is being set up and an interim national assembly appointed.

Negotiating the power-sharing formula was hard enough - solving Sudan's deep-seated political and economic problems is going to be harder still.

Newly-appointed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is under no illusions about the challenge he faces.

He is not a politician. He is an economist, a technocrat who has spent the last decades in the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

Over the coming days he is expected to appoint a cabinet of similarly impartial and competent technocrats.

In a speech after taking office, Mr Hamdok identified his two priorities - the economy and peace.

International goodwill
Sudan is deep in economic crisis. The protesters who brought down Mr Bashir took to the streets in December because the cost of living had become too high.

People relying on salaries could no longer afford bread; traders and farmers couldn't buy fuel; banks and ATMs were rationing paltry amounts of cash.

Inflation and shortages have a long-term effect on government debt, which is already enormous - over $50bn, more than 60% of gross domestic product.

And Sudan is experiencing a chronic foreign exchange shortage, after the loss of most of its oilfields when the south seceded in 2011.
Many Sudanese complain that the economy is in dire straits

Sudan missed out on the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel the debt of poor nations because it was under UN sanctions for human rights abuses, and US financial sanctions for a "state sponsor of terrorism" after the Bashir regime harboured killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden between 1991 and 1996.

Other highly-indebted countries have taken years to negotiate debt forgiveness - the Hamdok administration will need to do this in just a few month if the government is to obtain the funds it needs turn around the current macroeconomic crisis.

He has goodwill on his side. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bankrolled the Sudanese generals.

However, they will need to switch from cash handouts and gifts of food, fuel and medicine to supporting a coordinated plan for restoring Sudan to the good graces of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

In an interview with Reuters news agency, Mr Hamdok said he had already started talks with the two bodies to discuss restructuring Sudan's crippling debt.

The US will also need to remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terror list, thereby lifting the de facto ban on Sudan's access to the dollar-based international financial system.

That is just the beginning. Since oil revenues abruptly ended eight years ago, the main foreign exchange earners have been gold and the income from troop deployments in Yemen in support of Saudi forces.

Both of these have allegedly fed corruption - and any investigation is likely to focus on General Mohamed Hamdan "Hemeti" Dagolo, the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the de facto strongman among the military cabal.

He has promised to abide by the decisions of the civilian government, but whether he will countenance reforms that unravel his business empire - including huge interests in gold mining and export - remains to be seen.

Mr Hamdok also needs to curtail the defence budget, which eats up more than half of government spending, but imposing cuts on the generals is a perilous assignment.

The other big file on the new prime minister's desk is peace with the armed rebels. Though there have been ceasefires in place, long-running wars in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile are not resolved.

Rebels rebuffed
There are three main rebel groups in Darfur and a separate insurgency in South Kordofan and Blue Nile by the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North, a legacy of the earlier north-south war, in which the non-Arab peoples of these areas joined their southern brethren in fighting against Khartoum.

These rebel forces are also split into two factions. Mercifully, the rebels are not fighting one another, but getting them to agree has eluded mediators for years.
People are demanding justice for loved ones killed by the security forces

The armed groups are aggrieved that their agenda of a better deal for Sudan's marginalized peoples was short-changed by the power-sharing deal between the generals and the FCC.

They had demanded representation in the Sovereign Council and a bigger say in the negotiations for a civilian government - and were rebuffed.

Mr Hamdok is well-placed to talk to the rebels. He is from western Kordofan himself, a marginalized area, and has advised African and UN mediators working on Sudan, as well as the rebel leaders themselves.

And the leaders of the armed groups know well that the new government is their best chance for peace. If they miss it they may need to wait another decade or longer.

One issue that will need careful handling is accountability for human rights abuses and corruption.

Mr Bashir was in court last week on the charge of illegally possessing foreign currency.

The generals fear that more ambitious charges such as human rights violations will implicate them too.

Courageous protesters
They would strenuously oppose extraditing Mr Bashir to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he is wanted on war crimes charges.

But many pro-democracy demonstrators, who have amply shown their determination and courage on the streets, demand justice.

This includes a proper investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the 3 June massacre in which RSF fighters and security officers killed between 80 and 120 civilians.

The finger of culpability points to the generals in the Sovereign Council.

But indicting them would upset the fragile power-sharing deal. Whatever approach he takes, Mr Hamdok will be harshly criticized by one side or the other.

To deliver on the goals of Sudan's revolution, he will need all of his skills, a lot of goodwill, and a dose of good luck.

Alex de Waal is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the US.
More on Sudan's crisis: