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India to send additional medical teams in DR Congo and South Sudan in response to UN call

India’s Permanent Representative to UN T S Tirumurti on Friday tweeted, “In response to request of UN Secretary General, India is rushing two medical teams to Africa to strengthen Indian peacekeeping hospitals – one in Goma, DRCongo and other in Juba, South Sudan.”

The two medical teams of 15 medical personnel each at Goma (DRC) and Juba (South Sudan) will be deployed in the second half of September 2020.

Both the medical facilities are managed by Indian peacekeepers. As the COVID outbreak has spread  in these regions, the UN Secretary-General has decided to scale up the Level-2 and Level-3 hospital facilities in UNMISS (South Sudan) and MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo) respectively.

The main hub of the command and control centre of MONUSCO is located in Goma, DRC. The Hospital by India in Goma, operational since January 2005, has 90 Indian nationals including 18 specialists.  Given the rising COVID cases in the area, the “Level-3” facility, which is the highest level of medical care provided by a deployed UN unit, will now further be upgraded to a Level-3 Plus facility. 
 The “Level-2 plus” Hospital by India in Juba, South Sudan (UNMISS), operational since December 2016, has 77 Indian nationals including 12 specialists.  The Indian facility in Juba is presently the one of highest level of medical facilities existing in South Sudan. This facility will now be upgraded from Level-2 plus to a Level-3 facility. 

In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Secretariat has set up a System-Wide Medical Evacuation Task Force to ensure high quality treatment facilities for people serving the UN in field locations. 

 India has a long history of participation in various UN peacekeeping Missions. Women of the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services headed to the UN Peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Congo (ONUC) in 1960 to assist with the set up of a 400-bed hospital. In terms of current deployment to UN peacekeeping operations, India is the largest contributor in UNMISS (2,420 troops of 16,306 total) and second-largest in MONUSCO (2,030 troops of 15,159).

Report by Abhishek Jha

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