UNMISS sensitizes citizens on COVID-19 prevention measures
The continuous increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in South Sudan has prompted the United Nations Missions in South Sudan (UNMISS) to raise awareness campaigns aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus among communities in Warrap and the Eastern Equatoria States.
The UN peacekeepers in Warrap embarked on a 14-day door-to-door sensitization and distribution of personal protective equipment such as face masks as well as posters, postcards, and banners to individuals in Kuajok emblazoned with messages to keep themselves and others safe.
In East Equatoria State, the organization has also embarked on COVID-19 risk communication at and on public gathering in Magwi, Ikotos, Narus, and Nadapal to help prevent the pandemic.
Isaac Deng, a citizen of Marjok Noon in Twic County commended the peacekeepers saying door-to-door sensitization will make the entire local population aware of the seriousness of the virus and thus take the necessary precautionary measures, including frequent hand washing and maintaining social physical distancing.
Deng said, “We are happy that UNMISS is making this awareness-raising effort to the grass root.” Deng suggested that it would be a good idea too to take the awareness to cattle camps in Marjok Noon.
“We have seen our people falling sick, and some have even died. This must tell us that every single one of us must take the necessary measures to protect ourselves,” said Salva Yai Malek, a local government representative in Panliet in Gogrial East.
The head of the Kuajok UNMISS field office, Anastasie Nyirigira Mukangambe said “We want to let the people of Warrap State know that we are in this together. We are a family now despite coming from different counties.”
In Eastern Equatoria State, the UNMISS is using strategic billboard spaces it borrowed from local authorities to display critical messages 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 measures. Informing the public on how to avoid catching or spreading the pandemic is critical, said Wani Kute, Director General of the state Ministry of Information.
Apart from using the billboard space, the Eastern Equatoria field office of the peacekeeping mission has also placed banners and other informative material in public places, at least near the Freedom Square in the State capital, Torit with messages in both English and Arabic to remind citizens on how they need to behave to stay safe.
“I came here without the fear of being in the crowd. Now this message on the flyers will make us keep a distance from one another,” said Ibura Viola, a 34-year-old mother when she gathered with others to celebrate the 9th anniversary of South Sudan Independence Day.
Anthony Mwapa, a Human Rights officer serving with the peacekeeping mission’s office in Eastern Equatoria said, “UNMISS is mindful of COVID-19 prevention procedures at all times and wants to play our part in advising the public to comply with social distancing rules and other necessary preventive measures.”
In Warrap, the peacekeepers have already installed several handwashing stations and isolation centers in Kuajok and they have handed over various personal protective equipment to the COVID-19 taskforce in the state to advance fight against the pandemic.