This bi-weekly bulletin is designed for journalists in South Sudan reporting on the COVID-19 epidemic, and other related health and development challenges. It contains practical tips for reporting, provides verified information about public health measures of the Ministry of Health and partners, and gathers trustworthy media (re)sources for media partners. It also shares citizen concerns on COVID-19 and the humanitarian response.
**SITUATION UPDATE **
Second wave? Concerns for increased COVID-19 cases in South Sudan
The South Sudan Doctor’s Union is concerned about the current COVID-19 situation in the country, says Dr. Bol Deng, Secretary- General of the South Sudan Doctor’s Union (Source: Eye Radio). “The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet as long as the National Public Health Laboratory continues to confirm new positive cases within our borders,” said Dr. Bol Deng to Eye Radio on Sunday. “We need to continue observing the measures so that we prevent escalation of new infections,” he added (Source: Eye Radio).
Dr. Bol stated: “There is relaxation from the general public and also some institutions in observing the measures to prevent COVID-19. We want to remind the general public and institutions and concerned authorities that COVID-19 is not yet over”.
Public institutions, shops and medical centers are becoming complacent and often no longer providing handwashing facilities or sanitizers, Eye Radio shared. Social distancing is also reportedly not being observed at most meetings, weddings, funerals and other public gatherings (Source: Eye Radio).
Contact tracing is also becoming increasingly difficult as was discussed in the National Steering Committee meeting of 19 October 2020. According to the meeting multiple people refused to provide contact tracers with contact details and other required information about their “contacts” or gave wrong addresses. Communication and communication engagement on importance of contact tracing and the critical role of local government structures in this process was emphasized.
In their 33rd weekly COVID-19 update (covering 2-18 October, week 42), the Ministry of Health also reported challenges in reaching patients for home-based care due to incorrect phone numbers and reported that some people refuse to comply with quarantine measures or and deny exposure even if they are known to be a contact (NTF, 2020).
This section was written by Dr. Michael Gubay and Richard Jale.