Torit in the Eastern Equatoria region of South Sudan has porous borders with Uganda and Kenya and, consequently, is an area considered geographically at a higher risk of COVID-19 due to illegal movements from neighbouring countries.
Doctors from local hospitals in Torit and Kapoeta, therefore, recently approached the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Field Office here for support in fighting the spread of coronavirus among local communities.
As part of its ongoing commitment to assist local communities and protect civilians, UNMISS took this request on board. The mission handed over necessary medical items including some 7,000 face masks, protective glasses, gloves and disinfectants. All these are essential to ensure the personal protection of frontline health workers in these hospitals.
“The equipment given to us by UNMISS will help us handle cases of coronavirus at the state level with a certain degree of protection for doctors and nurses,” averred Dr. Elijo Omoro, Director-General, Ministry of Health, Torit. “As for the face masks, we intend to distribute them among local populations to ensure that we prevent COVID-19 from spreading,” he added.
For its part, the UNMISS Torit Field Office is doing its best to supplement the efforts of local counterparts in battling this pandemic. “UNMISS is part of the State Taskforce on the COVID-19 response and prevention. It is our hope that the medical supplies handed over to local hospitals will help health workers protect themselves and treat patients in a safe environment,” said Caroline Waudo, Head of Field Office, UNMISS Torit. “We are all in this together and stand ready to support local authorities and communities at this critical juncture,” she added.
While shortfalls in face masks, isolation centres and testing apparatus continue, the State Taskforce and partners in Torit are working all hours to raise awareness regarding preventative measures among South Sudanese people living in the region, including military officers, who live in close proximity to one another in their barracks. The UNMISS Torit Field Office intends to sensitize state military personnel on measures such as frequent handwashing and physical distancing in coming days.
The United Nations is supporting local communities to curb the spread of this pandemic across South Sudan. UNMISS is distributing tens of thousands of information leaflets and posters, running promo-trucks around the country, including Protection of Civilian sites, to educate people and, through its field offices, renovating hospitals and aiding the work of healthcare professionals by handing over much-needed medical supplies and ambulance services.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan