UNMISS hands over face masks to COVID-19 taskforce in Tambura

unmiss south sudan tambura covid19 face masks prevention

A joint UNMISS patrol handing over face masks to the COVID-19 taskforce in Tambura, Western Equatoria.

22 Jun 2020

UNMISS hands over face masks to COVID-19 taskforce in Tambura

Felix Katie

As part of its support to the state-led fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan has handed over 500 re-usable face masks to the taskforce combatting the virus in Tambura County in Western Equatoria.

“Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, we have not received any such assistance. This is the first of its kind, and we really appreciate UNMISS for providing these masks to the people of Tambura,” says Aggrey Brown, Secretary-General of the now defunct Tambura State, adding that they are still lacking testing kits and other equipment.

Tambura County is right next to the Central African Republic, a country with which it shares a porous border. Health facilities in these remote areas don’t have sufficient supplies of necessary COVID-19 protection gear and testing kits. So far, no confirmed cases of the virus have been registered in the county.

“If there is any suspect case it is difficult for health workers to identify infections and receive support needed to handle the situation. We ask our partners for assistance,” says Dr. Edward Bepo, coordinator of the World Health Organization in Tambura, speaking on behalf of its COVID-19 taskforce.

Frontline workers and others particularly exposed to risks of contamination are to prioritized as the face masks provided by the peacekeeping mission are being distributed.

Understanding the need for certain people to be able to go about their daily lives to the highest extent possible while still taking precautions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, Ann-Marie McDonald, a representative of the peacekeeping mission, mentioned some of the groups she would like to give priority.

“We would like people like the ladies at the market and the boda-boda riders to be protected while they work,” she says. “We will continue to give our support when necessary and possible.”