This bi-weekly bulletin is designed for and by media partners, journalists and other interested stakeholders in South Sudan reporting and working on COVID-19, and other related health and development challenges. It shares citizen concerns on COVID-19 and the humanitarian response, provides verified information about health measures of the Ministry of Health and partners and profiles trustworthy (re)sources.
COVID-19 pandemic and response in South Sudan:
South Sudan’s government is exploring how and when places of worship will reopen (Source: CGTN Africa). Current “hotspots” (areas with where COVID-19 transmission was officially reported by public health officials) include Central Equatoria, Abyei, Upper Nile, Jonglei State (Source: Ministry of Health, Sitution Update Issue # 24). Humanitarian partners report “community transmission” and fear that the virus is spreading without it being noticed by health officials. This, they state can overwhelm the health system, and increase mortality (Source: GOAL).
The Doctors’ Union of South Sudan has reportedly advised against reopening of places of worship without clear guidelines on COVID-19 prevention (Source: Eye Radio).
Worldwide, Africa is accounting for 5% of all COVID-19 cases (source: Africa CDC), whilst the case numbers across the continent are still increasing (Source: Our World In Data). On the continent more than half of the officially reported cases are in South Africa (59%). Kenya and Central African Republic (CAR) are also reporting more confirmed cases than South Sudan, also whilst Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are reporting less (Source: Our World In Data, and the graph on the right).
According to the South Sudan Ministry of Health, 1,211 people (or around half of the cumulative confirmed cases) have recovered from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic (Source: MoH).
Many survivors of COVID-19 report that they suffer from the effects of the illness for long after, including from shortness of breath, muscle weakness and flashbacks (Source: NYT). “Stigma” against survivors and their family members has also been reported across South Sudan (source: WHO). People that are suspected of having COVID-19, or confirmed patients, are discriminated against, and/or experience loss of status because of getting ill (Source: WHO).