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Gov’t seeks $5 Million to fight Coronavirus

Authors: Elsheik Chol | Mansuru Abale Nyalaziri | Priscah Akol | Published: Thursday, March 19, 2020

Ministry of Health Building in Juba - Photo by Charels Wote/Eye Radio Feb. 18, 2020

South Sudan’s Minister of Health has proposed an allocation of $5 million to prevent the Coronavirus, the government spokesperson has said.

According to the minister of information, communication, technology, and postal services, Michael Makuei Lueth, the minister of health raised the matter at the extra-ordinary meeting of the council of ministers held in Juba on Wednesday.

Makuei disclosed that the cabinet will discuss the proposal in the next meeting.

“The ministry of health, therefore, recommends council ministers to consider the payment of the five million dollars for work in order to prepare its self, and this one was extra-ordinary meeting,” Makuei said.

“By Friday she is expected to table here submission, requesting the cabinet to approve the five million USD for combating this disease before its come to us or preventing this disease from entering South Sudan.”

No screening equipment at the entry point 

For his part, the inspector of police at the Nimule border disclosed to Eye Radio that the country is at a higher risk of coronavirus because the authority at the entry point lacks adequate equipment.

Screening for the virus is ongoing for all persons entering the country, but there are no enough gloves and face masks.

A traveler also told Eye Radio that he saw soldiers operating the border without wearing masks.

However, Colonel Mbiko Barakat says the national ministry of health needs to increase the screening equipment at the border point.

“What I can assure you is we have a very high risk if the coronavirus reaches our side here in [Nimule],” said Colonel Barakat.

“I think it will be a very high risk because first of all, we don’t have this minor thing like face masks. Some good measures are not put in place in Nimule for sure this what I can tell you.”

No money 

Early, the incident manager for Coronavirus told Eye Radio that the ministry of health has no money to buy screening equipment at the entry points.

Dr. Angok Gordon stated that since the situation was changed to the pandemic, the institution has no available funding.

However, the Ministry of Health announced weeks ago that the government had procured five testing machines to be set up at the major airports and border points.

It also said it had trained four qualified technical teams to operate the system.

“There is a challenge of getting money, so we are working with partners for the last week since the situation was changed to the pandemic,” said Dr. Angok.

“We have issues of budgeting, we are discussing with major bureaus those who will give us money so that we procure the equipment, they have to be standard equipment.”

“These are very expensive equipment, we need to get them outside with standards, we did not receive any funding up to now.’’

The World Health Organization has warned that African countries should prepare for the worst as coronavirus cases continue to increase across the continent.

So far, countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, DRC, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Egypt have confirmed their first coronavirus cases.

The World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health said South Sudan is coronavirus-free.

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