The United Nations in South Sudan comes together to provide protective items to Kapoeta stakeholders
Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria is an area in South Sudan where frontline health workers were lacking in Personal Protective Equipment as COVId-19 cases continue to increase in the country. Furthermore, porous borders with Kenya and Uganda place residents here at risk of contracting and transmitting the virus.
Noting the health risks faced by the communities in Kapoeta, the United Nations in South Sudan – UNMISS, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)—have all come together to support citizens here.
“Representatives of UNMISS and the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes in Torit travelled to Kapoeta here to support the national-led COVID-19 response. We are one UN and together we resolved to do everything we can, not just in Eastern Equatoria, but across the country for local communities, especially during this global health emergency,” said Caroline Waudo, Head of Field Office, UNMISS Torit.
The UN has provided personal protective gear such as gowns, hoods and surgical gloves, coronavirus testing kits, bottles of soap, buckets and facemasks. These are earmarked to be distributed among local populations including judicial actors and prisoners. Items handed over also include blankets and bedsheets to be used in the isolation facility here as well as 100 solar-powered radios for communities to keep themselves up-to-date regarding preventative measures being taken by the South Sudanese government and advice on staying healthy from the WHO.
The beneficiaries of the handover were primarily frontline health workers at the Kapoeta State Hospital, women’s groups, and COVID-19 Task Force in the area.
The COVID-19 Task Force, for its part, has initiated grassroots-level sensitization among women’s groups on preventative measures against COVID-19 to ensure the safety of communities, though lack of transport to spread cogent health messages in remote areas is a major hindrance.
Lack of transport and mobility is a recurrent theme in Kapoeta when it comes to fighting the virus. “We are grateful to the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes as well as UNMISS for the support they have given us, especially to the medical workers who greatly needed to safeguard themselves. Our challenge now is to transport these essential items to our community members at the borders who are ensuring that they protect us from illegal entries; but I am confident we will find a way,” said David Eriga Enodius, a local official.