70 tons of personal protective equipment meant for health care workers have been handed over to the Ministry of Health and partners in South Sudan, the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordination has announced.
The supplies will help protect frontline health workers and other public health practitioners from infection as they continue to offer lifesaving services and attend to patients in health care facilities.
The medical items were procured by the World Health Organization using funds from the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF) and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
They include face masks, face shields, respirators, gowns and goggles worth $5.2 million.
According to a statement issued by UN OCHA, 4 September, the PPEs received $5 million from SSHF and $146,000 from AfDB.
It noted that since coronavirus was confirmed in the country in April 2020, surveillance, contact tracing, sample collection and case management have been severely affected by the shortage of PPEs.
Many health workers across the country are reportedly taking risks daily to stem the pandemic.
“Our main objective is to ensure that health workers and others performing critical public health functions receive the much-needed PPEs in prioritized locations as soon as possible,” said Alain Noudéhou, Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.
The Ministry of Health recently revealed that 126 health care workers have tested positive for the coronavirus including one death in South Sudan.
There are currently 7,560 health care workers operating in 1,315 health facilities across the country.
South Sudan COVID-19 positive cases have hit more than 2,500 since April 2020.
“As we respond to the needs created by the virus, the pre-COVID-19 humanitarian operations must continue to avoid life-threatening consequences for people already facing serious risks, including renewed conflict, food insecurity and other more preventable diseases,” Mr. Noudéhou stressed.
UN OCHA also reiterated its call for an end to violence and sustained peace to delivery of humanitarian and health assistance.
“Our collective response will only be effective if humanitarian and health workers are able to operate in a safe environment,” he concluded.
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Published Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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