As the COVID-19 vaccination programme starts rolling out across South Sudan, UNMISS is continuing its support for the national-led pandemic response.
In a recent intervention, the UN peacekeeping mission in the world’s youngest nation handed over facemasks and aprons to municipal authorities in Kuajok.
Furthermore, to increase public access to critical health information, UNMISS also gave 10 radio sets.
“We are going to distribute these aprons, facemasks and radio sets to restaurants in the local market,” said Gabriel Ayok, Mayor, Kuajok municipality.
“Restaurants are busy places, where many people from local communities come for their meals. Workers will now have an extra layer of safety, thanks to the facemasks, and patrons will be able to hear the latest news on the Coronavirus through the radio sets,” he added.
Isaac Lappia from the mission’s field office in Kuajok agrees. “Making sure that communities living here have access to up-to-date health information is crucial for us as a mission. Therefore, we felt that placing radio sets in public places within the local market would go a long way in people understanding and adopting the safety measures mandated by the National Health Taskforce,” he states.
Akol Duang Akol, a waiter in this busy eatery is appreciative of the mission’s gesture. “We are in the food business and people need to eat every day. We have a lot of customers and these facemasks and aprons will make a difference in the way we do business. We can be compliant with preventative measures and keep ourselves and our clientele safe,” he avers.
For her part, a local tea seller, Mary Amou says she is overjoyed with the handover.
“I’ve been running a tea stall for five years and have many clients. With this apron and facemask, I will be able to cater to everybody without being afraid for my health,” she says.
“I make very good tea and love what I do. Thanks to UNMISS, my customers can continue to enjoy cups of their favourite brew in a hygienic, safe way.”
The small market in Kuajok connects Bahr El Ghazal with Abyei and is a bustling, often overcrowded stopover for traders from South Sudan and its northern neighbor Sudan. The UNMISS-provided facemasks are expected to be a much-needed layer of protection for local traders here.