JUBA, South Sudan, July 11, 2020,/ — To further increase awareness on how to keep communities safe from COVID-19, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan has reached an agreement with local authorities in Eastern Equatoria State to borrow one of its strategically located billboard spaces for critical messaging on measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The ministry is pleased to let UNMISS use one of our billboard frames to communicate COVID-19 prevention messages,” says Wani Kute, Director General of the state Ministry of Information. “Informing the public on how to avoid catching or spreading the pandemic is crucial.”
Public gatherings and celebrations, not to mention many other social situations in South Sudan, are problematic from a COVID-19 point of view, as exercising physical distancing is often forgotten or ignored.
Apart from using the billboard space, the Eastern Equatoria field office of the peacekeeping mission has also placed banners and other informational material in public places, not least near the Freedom Square in the state capital Torit, where messages in both English and Arabic remind citizens on how they need to behave to stay safe.
“I came here without the fear of being in the crowd [gathered to celebrate South Sudan’s Independence Day, on 9 July], but now this message on the flyer will make us keep a distance from one another,” said Ibura Viola, a 24-year-old mother.
“UNMISS is mindful of COVID-19 prevention procedures at all times and want to play our part in advising the public to comply with social distancing rules and other necessary preventive measures,” said Anthony Nwapa, a Human Rights Officer serving with the peacekeeping mission’s office in Eastern Equatoria.
The UNMISS-supported COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign in the state is currently taking place in the towns of Magwi, Ikotos, Narus and Nadapal.