JUBA South Sudan ( Xinhua) --
Jacinto lee Ziki, 73 years old, lies calmly
on his hospital bed with white smoke rising from several
needles inserted across his back and waist, while a
group of three trainee medical students passing-by
shouted through the window.
that thing burning on his back?” They immediately rushed
to the ward to inquire.
approached, Ziki raised his head up and said, “Don’t
worry. I’m receiving treatment for back pain.”
medics were thrown into surprise.
short while, Tang Jiejie, a Chinese acupuncture doctor
working in South Sudan walked in to check on his patient
and the students shifted their attention to him, asking
series of questions about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
about the Chinese doctors two years ago and I have been
coming here regularly for treatment of back pain,” said
Ziki who has suffered prolonged Osteoarthritis for many
“I have been
enrolled for seven-month acupuncture treatment.
is now on the traditional Chinese medicine because I
don’t have money for operation in India,” said Ziki.
many South Sudanese are now embracing acupuncture since
it was introduced to the world’s youngest nation by the
China medical team in 2016.
South Sudan’s biggest public health facility, the Juba
Teaching Hospital, the TCM clinic treats patients
seeking medication for general joint pain, back pain,
tooth ache, stroke and many others.
ward just a few metres away from Ziki’s, Marith Aldo
Reech lies motionless and speechless on his bed.
eyes were the only organs sensitive to any form of
movement in the room.
But when the
Chinese doctor started pricking his skin with several
acupuncture needles, he moved his left leg and hand
Daniel Deng told Xinhua that his father suffered severe
stroke a few weeks ago in the central region of Aweil
and that the stroke left his entire body nearly
they were referred to Juba Teaching Hospital where Reech
received a combination of physiotherapy and traditional
Chinese medicine that has helped him regain some
brought my father here.
'His left hand and leg were
'He was unable to open his eyes or even eat.
'But with the joint efforts of the South Sudanese and
Chinese doctors, he is now improving,” Deng said.
doctors have been giving him medicine every day and that
has helped him a lot.
"I thank the Chinese for their
assistance to the people of South Sudan,” Deng added.
TCM specialist Tang, many south Sudanese do not still
understand how the TCM works, but that did not deter
them from seeking acupuncture services as he can now
treat between 8 and 10 patients per day.
his clientele of patients seeking traditional
acupuncture, cupping and massage is growing on daily
step by step, more South Sudanese people will know more
about traditional medicine.
'I like to help more and more
people to relieve their pains,” Tang said.
explained that acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine
used to treat body pains and several physical and
emotional illnesses through pricking the skin or tissues
a physiotherapist at Juba Teaching Hospital also agrees
that South Sudanese are embracing the TCM since its
introduction about two years ago.
traditional Chinese medicine received mixed reactions at
'Some people like it and others used to
fear the needles.
'But now we are now seeing an
increasing number of people coming for acupuncture,”
For the past
six years running, China has dispatched five medical
teams to the East African nation who offered specialized
medical care and surgeries to thousands of patients
across South Sudan.
Daniel, 49, who suffered from chronic rheumatoid
arthritis in 2016, said she has been a regular visitor
of the TCM clinic in Juba after being introduced to the
Chinese doctors in 2016.
Xinhua that the Chinese medicine has improved her health
and she can now perform domestic duties without
“This is the
second time for me to come for the acupuncture
'I first got Chinese treatment in 2016 in
'Their medication reduced the pain and I can now
move my hands without difficulty,” said Daniel.
“I urge the
people of South Sudan to seek medication from the
Chinese doctors because they are helping a lot.
prick the painful areas and I get real medication from
the Chinese doctors.” Daniel said.
Blind South Sudanese
heal pain, stress through massage therapy
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
As civil war and a biting economic crisis
continue to ravage South Sudan, a group of blind South
Sudanese in the capital Juba is using massage therapy to
relieve people from body pains and stress.
in 2013, Seeing Hands is a social enterprise scheme made
of up five members, all blind, and the group offers
massage therapy to local and foreign clients at a fee.
32, became blind in 2000 due to Onchocerciasis or river
blindness (a tropical disease common in South Sudan) and
the illness left him devastated because he was unable to
fend for himself.
laborious search for help, Pitia said he got assistance
from South Sudan’s only education facility for the blind
and deaf, the Rejaf Educational Center for the Blind and
Deaf where he was trained on mobility, massage and using
gadgets for the visually impaired.
is not just for money.
'It is a treatment for the
muscles, mind and body.
'Many people experiencing
physical or emotion pain come here and we help relief
them from that,” Pitia told Xinhua.
charges 15 U.S. dollars for foreigners and 6 dollars for
locals per hour.
The masseurs attend to at least 30
clients per month and they share the proceeds among
themselves and also invest the rest for future
started this business, we are now able to help our
families and even ourselves.
'Most of our members are
paying their own tuition fee, transport and many things.
'This work is helping us in many ways,” said Pitia.
Lonya, 38, got blind at 22 years old and until 2014, he
struggled to fend for himself and family.
of one said since he started doing massage in 2014, he
can now afford to provide basic needs to his family.
“I used to
struggle to make money, but when I started this work, it
has helped me a lot.
'I can now help my family, relatives
and my neighbours,” Lonya said.
“I tell my
fellow people with disabilities to be creative and do
something for themselves,” he added.
38-year-old Silvas Darago, the massage therapy center
rescued him from turning into begging after he got blind
in early 2013.
his monthly income to pay tuition fee at university and
also support his relatives.
“When I got
blind, I was shocked and I lost hope but when I came to
this group, I got encouragement and I now have hope for
my future,” the third year student of psychology at the
University of Juba told Xinhua.
a disability assessment survey conducted by the
government in 2011, about 424,000 people live with
disabilities in South Sudan, with the majority of them
getting disabilities from eye diseases, polio and
physical injuries during war and violent conflicts.
says 85 percent of persons with disabilities live in
rural areas with limited access to basic services.
further notes that people with disabilities face
enormous challenges such as access to health services,
education and mobility as most of the country’s public
infrastructure does not have special access zones for
people with physical and visual impairment.
serves as supervisor of the group decried widespread
discrimination of blind people and lack of social
services such as schools, mobility infrastructure and
economic empowerment programs for disabled people.
with disabilities) are looked as people of no
"We also face issues of mobility in the city,
we don’t have infrastructure.
'Sometimes we fall into the
drainage channels on the streets,” Pitia lamented,
hoping the situation will improve in the future.