South Sudan recorded its first case of COVID-19 on the 5th of April, by the end of the reporting period a total of 35 COVID-19 cases had been reported. UNICEF is a key member of the national COVID-19 steering committee and is co-leading the Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) as well as the Infection prevention and control (IPC) response pillars.
Following the Government of South Sudan’s closure of schools and educational institutions, approximately 2 million children, currently enrolled in primary and secondary levels, are still deprived of attending schools. UNICEF launched a radio-learning programmes to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on learners.
From January – April 2020, a total of 66,156 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) were treated in inpatient and outpatient therapeutic programs. The performance indicators for SAM treatment were above the acceptable minimum Sphere standards, with a cure rate of 94 per cent, a death rate of 0.4 and a defaulter rate of 3.7 per cent.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF appeals for US$ 180 million to sustain the provision of life-saving services for women and children in South Sudan. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received, however, the 2020 HAC still has a funding gap of 59%. Without adequate funding, UNICEF and partners will be unable to scale up integrated programming and provide critical and protective services for women, children and men displaced by conflict, affected by gender-based violence, facing life-threatening diseases (including COVID-19), and impacted by extreme food insecurity.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The complex operating environment in South Sudan has become increasingly challenging with an outbreak of COVID- 19 . The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported on the 5th of April, by the end of the reporting period, over 35 cases and no deaths had been reported in the country. The outbreak has had a huge impact on the already vulnerable and at-risk populations.Before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Sudan was already facing a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions, with the lives of many children at risk. According to the January 2020 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis an estimated 6.48 million people or 55% of the population, will face Crisis (IPC 3) or worse acute food insecurity during the period May-July 2020. In addition, a total of 1,301,000 children are projected to need treatment for acute malnutrition, including about 292,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. More than 40 per cent of the population have no access to primary health care services and an estimated 60 per cent of the total population either rely on unimproved or surface water sources; or have to walk more than 30 minutes to reach the improved water sources.
As part of measures to prevent COVID-19, schools were shut down in March, this has had a negative impact on Education, as, approximately 2 million children, currently enrolled in primary and secondary levels, are being deprived of learning. In addition , the Government’s High-Level Task Force on COVID-19 expanded containment measures, including a directive that all travelers from outbreak locations (Juba and Torit) to other states are required to produce a ‘COVID-19 free’ certificate, and obtain special authorization from the task force. Such measures have curtailed the movement of humanitarian staff, complicating UNICEF and partners’ ability to scale up COVID-19 response interventions and regular emergency programmes. They also exacerbate the impact of existing access challenges, which include insecurity, inter-communal violence, criminality, attacks against humanitarians, and bureaucratic impediments among others.