South Sudan: Containing Corona with Volunteers

Juba, 13 November 2020

Officially, South Sudan registers low corona case numbers. Nevertheless, the effects of the pandemic are diverse for the country. Since March, Johanniter volunteers have reached almost 120,000 people with awareness raising measures.

According to the Ministry of Health, almost 3000 infections and 59 deaths were reported by the beginning of November. Due to a lack of testing capacities, however, a high number of unreported cases must be assumed. For example, there is only one state test facility for the whole country in the capital Juba. In some health centres, rapid tests are to be available only for patients with acute symptoms.

756 Volunteers in Action

In order to contain the corona pandemic, 756 Johanniter volunteers have been raising awareness about the virus and proper hygiene behaviour since March. Posters, flyers, and megaphones supported this effort. Almost 120,000 people in the Jur River and Wau region have been reached so far. In addition, 12,450 pieces of soap were distributed to families with children under five years of age. Almost 46,000 pregnant and lactating women and mothers have been informed and sensitised in numerous health stations.

Despite low case numbers, South Sudan is bearing the multiple effects of the pandemic. "The closing of borders to stem the spread of the virus has also created shortages of basic goods and therefore has hiked the cost in the country. This leads to increasing poverty," says Charles Okidi, Johanniter´s Head of Mission in South Sudan. 5.5 million people in South Sudan are already dependent on humanitarian aid due to a plague of locusts and recent floods. The pandemic also has concrete political effects: The creation of a unified army was one of the core aspects of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, signed in 2018. The government decided to suspend the training of the unified forces as a precautionary measure – a decision that affected 29 000 combatants.

A mother explains to another mother with an infant the advantages of breastfeeding in a field.

International Assistance in South Sudan

In South Sudan our activities focus on medical care for pregnant women, mothers and their newborns. We improve the hygiene situation and the nutritional status. In this way we contribute to the resuction of mortality.

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What we do against Corona worldwide

We are adapting our current project activities to respond to the worldwide corona pandemic.