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PIBOR - 1 Mar 2021

Health official calls for Covid-19 awareness campaigns in Pibor

Health authorities in South Sudan’s Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) have called for massive awareness campaigns to educate the civil population on the global Covid-19 pandemic as the country witnesses a rise in cases.  

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, Dr. Abdelrobu Mohamed, the area’s head for primary health care department, said: “Across the country, we are witnessing an upsurge in Covid-19 cases, and as South Sudanese, we have been traveling from states to states. For us in Pibor, people just go about their businesses as if there is no Covid-19 in the country. People do not know about the virus and its precautionary measures.”

The health official said a lack of funds is to blame for the lack of campaigns. 

“Even at the airport, no screenings are being done because we lack equipment. There are no machines for testing Covid-19 samples. Our health partners send samples from suspected patients to Juba for confirmation. Having equipment and support is good because if we are to carry campaigns, the locals would believe that Covid-19 is real,” he added.

Dr. Mohamed urged the government and aid agencies in the country to provide material support for creating awareness of the pandemic. 

Several residents in Pibor told Radio Tamzuj that they knew about the pandemic but could not keep health protocols as required to prevent its spread.

“We heard of this virus over the radios. No one came to us to educate us. About facemasks, we only see them in the mouths of aid agencies staffers but we do not know how they function,” Joseph Aturuk, a resident of Pibor said. 

Another resident Simon Gain Korok said they are reluctant to observe the Covid-19 protocols because of hardship. He appealed for a health intervention from the government and relevant aid agencies. 

Lokali Amae, a lawmaker representing Pibor in the GPAA legislative council, said there is a need for massive Covid-19 awareness campaigns to educate the people on the dangers of the virus.

“In Pibor now, if you are to wear facemasks, people will laugh you off. Last month, I raised a concern with the SPLM party. I was given 500 facemasks which I took to Pibor and distributed to some locals. But everyone else threw theirs away," he stressed.

South Sudan has been recording an upsurge in Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the year. Last Friday, the country recorded 84 new confirmed cases bringing the total to 8,010 cases since the first case was reported last year.