The 13th Malawi Battalion (Malbatt) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has acquired mobile surgical equipment as rebels turn to improvised explosives in the war-torn North Kivu Province.
The light mobile surgical module is part of the Malawian peacekeepers’ life-saving facilities in Beni, the eastern DRC.
The Malawian peacekeepers are part of the Force Intervention Brigade conducting offensive operations against illegal armed groups to protect the civilians.
The surgical equipment will change the troops’ operational environment as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels now use improvised explosive devices that pose a grave threat to the UN peacekeepers as well as civilians.
The facility offers both minor and major in-field medical operations, improving the way medics handle life-threatening conditions before referring patients to higher healthcare facilities in the mission area and beyond.
The facility was inspected and certified fully functional on May 23.
On June 18, Christian Francis Saunders, the assistant UN Secretary General responsible for supply chain management in the Department of Operational Support, toured and appreciated the facility.
It has 31 medics led by Lieutenant Colonel Takondwa Itaye-Kamangira. They include orthopaedic surgeons, radiologists, physiotherapists, anaesthetists, pathologists and intensive care nurses.
“This facility has all it takes to provide the much-needed surgical and medical care in this complex mission,” Dr Itaye-Kamangira says.
During the opening of the facility, Malbatt XIII commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Chitekwe said the facility will not only support the Malawian troops, but all peacekeepers under UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission (Monusco) as well as civilians.
He said: “Although this facility is part of Malbatt, its operational reach is not limited to our troops only but to all.
“I am grateful for the support rendered to us by the Malawi Defence Force as well as Monusco leadership to establish this facility which has come when we needed it most to supplement other facilities that offer higher level medical care in the DRC.”
Since its opening, the facility has already treated several blue helmets and civilian peacekeepers.