9th July 2020
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One health-care worker dies of COVID-19, first front-line fatality in S. Sudan

Author: Priscah Akol | Published: Friday, May 29, 2020

Health workers during a physical TOT training on COVID-19 for frontline medical workers in April, 2020. Photo: South Sudan Doctor's Union.

South Sudan has recorded the first frontline health care worker who died of Covid-19 last week, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Health has disclosed.

According to Dr. Makur Koriom, four frontline health workers have contracted the novel coronavirus, saying one of them succumbed to Covid-19.

This is the first known casualty among those health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

‚ÄúThere are health workers that have contracted the virus, actually one of them has died last week. We are very much sorry for the soul lost,” said Dr. Koriom, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Health.

He describes the late medic as an elderly man, who had served in the health sector for many years.

Dr. Koriom said some of the health workers contracted the disease during contact tracing.

“The sacrifices made by our health care professionals are not measurable by any means. It is our responsibility as the ministry to ensure that we provide all the protective measures so that our healthcare workers can discharge their duties safely with minimal risks,” he added.

Dr. Koriom said that there are a lot of challenges facing front-line health care workers.

“There are issues to do with their compensation and that is affecting the whole care system, delaying in paying salaries even when that salary comes, it is just a little kind of thing that will not take you for a day, so that is a big challenge.”

He added that other challenges include following up on patients and contacts around the towns and residential areas are also not easy.

The undersecretary stated that some patients and contacts are not cooperating.

According to Dr. Koriom, the health workers are exposed to a lot of harassment by members of the public putting stigma on them.

“We urged the public to support the health workers because this is time for support and solidarity.”

Early this month, the International Council of Nurses said it believed at least 90,000 healthcare workers had been infected and more than 260 nurses died in the novel coronavirus pandemic globally.

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