Journey from a Mother to Peacekeeper
I Major Sadia Yousaf, as Medical Officer was nominated by Pakistan Army for UN assignment with PAK BATT-7. I proceeded on UN Mission from CMH Gilgit with a heavy heart on Jun 13, 2018, as I am a mother of two and had to take an emotional leap of faith for leaving my family for undertaking UN assignment. However, I took this difficult and momentous decision with a lot of deliberation and contemplation, and it turned out to be for the best. I would like to mention here that my family rendered me unflinching support and supported me throughout my tenure with PAK BATT-7.
As a medical officer previously I did not have any experience of serving with an infantry unit. I was honored to be one of the first female medical officers to go on UN assignment with an Infantry Unit. Providing medical services to an infantry setup was my first exposure of its kind. The unit rendered me unconditional and all out support in setting in UN routine. As the senior most medical officer, beside other medical staff whose support has always been there for me on every step of the way, I always tried to give my utmost attention on provision of best medical support/ health care to the unit. During my stay, I treated and provided free medical support to local people as well in an effort to win hearts and minds.
After six months on the mission, I had the new experience of proceeding on weekly short range patrols (SRPs) for civ military cooperation/interaction, which had far reaching impact on image building of Pak Army. The aim of SRPs was to enhance interaction with civilian populace, provision of medical assistance and educating about hygiene, self-protection against commonly prevailing diseases like malaria, typhoid etc. Hand washing techniques and counseling regarding precautionary measures was also imparted in true letter and spirit. I felt very proud when locals especially children used to salute and touch the Pakistani flag on our uniform. It was a really awesome and tremendous experience.
Free medical camps were also setup by us in different areas like El Daein and Kabkabiya. One free medical camp was setup in El Daein where we treated 550 plus patients and the second free medical camp was setup at Kabkabiya where 2500 plus patients were given medical services. The Government of Sudan and UNAMID appreciated our efforts for these endeavors.
I also had a chance to serve at various team sites like Buram and Labado. The experience of serving with an infantry unit was fascinating, unprecedented and unforgettable. Administratively, the complete medical staff was looked after. We had all-out support under the able Comd of CO Pakbatt-7.
I also conducted COE inspection and maintained our medical facility in a befitting manner. During the COE, excellent equipment worthiness was displayed, preparations were up to the mark and our interaction with UN MILOBS was exemplary. They were given full medical support at all times and they all appreciated our efforts.
PAKBATT-7 as an infantry unit provided me great memories to cherish. It has created an unbreakable bond. Contributions of PAK BATT-7 Lvl 1 Hospital for UNAMID and for the people of Darfur are enormous and duly acknowledge at all levels.
I would also like to highlight that gender parity was also given by the Unit in its operational activities by allowing lady officers to interact with local people during routine patrolling activities. I tried my best to earn the gratitude of local populace for PAKBATT-7, in particular, and for Pak Army in general. These gestures shall go a long way in further cementing the brotherly ties between both countries. HH
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