As COVID-19 cases increase in South Sudan, more and more people are beginning to realize that preventing this disease as well as staying safe and healthy is a collective responsibility. In Eastern Equatoria, a youth-led organization has started a door-to-door awareness raising campaign in border towns to help sensitize local communities living in these areas on how to stay safe and healthy.
“We realized that all of us have a part to play in the fight against the virus,” says Daniel Mwaka, executive director of the youth group known as the Eastern Equatoria State COVID-19 Mobile Awareness Team. “While we urge the High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 and other stakeholders to open mire isolation centres in border areas, we are aware that people are still gathering in large numbers, say for funerals, and such like. Therefore, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to educate the public on preventative measures advised by the World Health Organization, such as physical distancing, wearing masks where appropriate and washing hands frequently since these small efforts by every individual can help keep them as well as their families and loved ones safe from the virus,” he adds.
This COVID-19 mobile awareness team has distributed face masks, sanitizers, soaps to communities and ensured the installation of hand washing points at public places, markets, and offices in Torit, Nimule, Pogee, Kapoeta, Tsertenya and Nadapal border towns.
“We understand the dangers of this pandemic and we are, therefore, doing our bit to support the national-led COVID-19 response by sensitizing local communities. As an organization of young people, we have a duty to bolster the efforts made by the South Sudanese government as well as international organizations such as the United Nations,” says Otililing James, Chairperson of the Torit Youth Union.
For her part, Vanessa Kaltuma, a concerned young person in Torit beseeches the Government of South Sudan to take into account remote areas across all 10 states in their COVID-19 response strategy. “While Juba currently has the maximum number of cases, I urge national authorities to also put in place measures for remote areas since the virus seems to be highly contagious,” she states.
For its part, the UNMISS Communication and Public Information team in Torit has equipped the youth group with an assortment of posters and leaflets with preventive messages in both English and Arabic to support their campaign.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan