JUBA, South Sudan — The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou, announced the arrival of US$5.2 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) at Juba International Airport. The 70 tons of PPEs was procured by the World Health Organization with $5 million funding from the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund and $146,000 from the African Development Bank. The supplies include face masks, face shields, respirators, gowns and goggles, and will help protect frontline health workers and other public health practitioners against COVID-19 transmission.
“Our main objective is to ensure that health workers and others performing critical public health functions receive the much-needed PPEs in prioritized locations as soon as possible,” Mr. Noudéhou said.
Since COVID-19 was confirmed in the country in April 2020, surveillance, contact tracing, sample collection and case management have been severely affected by the shortage of PPEs. Many health workers across the country are taking risks daily to stem the pandemic. According to the Ministry of Health, as of 30 August 2020, 126 health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 including one death. There are currently 7,560 health care workers operating in 1,315 health facilities in South Sudan.
“Frontline workers need to be protected while they carry out the important work of providing assistance to the people of South Sudan,” the Humanitarian Coordinator said.
He added: “As we respond to the needs created by the virus, the pre-COVID-19 humanitarian operations must continue to avoid life-threatening consequences for people already facing serious risks, including renewed conflict, food insecurity and other more preventable diseases.”
“Our collective response will only be effective if humanitarian and health workers are able to operate in a safe environment. I therefore call for an end to the violence and for sustained peace to ensure predictable access and to enable delivery of humanitarian and health assistance,” the Humanitarian Coordinator stressed.
“I thank the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund’s donors and the African Development Bank for their contributions which have enabled this urgent injection of much needed PPEs into the on-going COVID-19 response in South Sudan.”