SOUTH SUDAN – South Sudan has obtained over 1.3 million dollars’ worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the healthcare workforce from China Aid to boost the government’s ongoing efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases in the country.
The donated personal protective equipment will protect more than 900 frontlines medical and support staff from secondary infections as they respond to and serve those affected at 17 primary health care centers and two hospitals in the country’s Unity, Upper Nile, Western and Central Equatoria states.
China Aid has donated quality-assured PPE items through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) including 1.1 million pairs of gloves, 70,000 disposable fluid-resistant gowns, 70,000 protective eye goggles, 70,000 N95 respiratory masks and 1,000 pairs of rubber boots.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, partners with humanitarian and development partners to deliver essential humanitarian assistance and protection to South Sudanese refugees and local communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
The South Sudan refugee crisis remains the largest on the African continent, South Sudan hosts 343,000 refugees mainly from Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as some 2 million people displaced internally by conflict and insecurity.
The donation of PPE comes at a time South Sudan continues to continues to be challenged by erratic violence, food insecurity, devastating impacts of flooding and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has strained people’s resources, significantly reducing their ability to sustainably meet their needs.
UNHCR with the support of the Embassy of China in South Sudan has delivered the PPE in specific locations ahead of the country’s rainy season that often disrupts access to deep field locations and distributed some items to UNHCR operations in Jamjang, Maban, Yei-Lasu, Yambio, Gorom and Juba.
The gear will ensure the safety of medical and support staff working at primary health care centres and hospitals to provide essential health and medical services to a total of 343,000 refugees mostly women and children as well as more than 60,000 residents of host communities.
UNHCR’s Public Health Officer in South Sudan Alemayehu Nigatu Gebremichael stressed that prevention and good hygiene practices are crucial to an effective emergency response including addressing the coronavirus or any other infectious diseases.
“If there is any lesson learned from the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is that risk cannot be eliminated from systems but rather must be constantly managed and treated. The donation of PPE makes that task easier,” he noted.
Additionally, the donated items will further contribute to South Sudan’s COVID-19 preparedness and response established in refugee camps where key interventions, diagnostics, trainings, capacities and coordination mechanism has helped minimize transmission.