DAWIT K.TEDLA & JIMMY LUDANGA
As part of its support to the national-led COVID-19 response in South Sudan, the UNMISS Women's Networks led by United Nations Police (UNPOL) deployed to the mission’s Field Office in Wau have handed over some 250 face masks to community leaders at the UNMISS Protection of Civilians site.
What makes this handover a special one is that UNPOL officers from the Women’s Network actually contributed financially and used their own sewing skills to make these masks. “We took this initiative because though it might appear to be a very small step to fight this pandemic, we believe every effort counts in slowing down the spread of coronavirus, especially when it comes to displaced people living in cramped conditions where physical distancing is not always possible,” said Vera Ayensu, UNPOL Coordination Officer and Women’s Network member.
Nanai Peter, a displaced woman living in the Protection site in Wau is thankful to UNPOL. “I received my mask today and I am grateful to the UNPOL officers at UNMISS for enabling me to protect myself from COVID-19,” said Ms. Peter. “As of today, I will be wearing my mask during all my movements within and outside the camp. I have also been sensitized by the Women’s Network on the benefits of wearing the mask,” she elaborated.
Ms. Peter’s appreciation was echoed by Genti John Musa Ali, a community leader for displaced people who highlighted the serious challenges by displaced people, especially with regard to maintaining a social distance from one another.
“We have always worked in harmony with UNPOL officers from UNMISS. These face masks are a testament to our collective commitment to resolve the issues we face together,” Ms. Ali stated.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a war that we all have to fight in unison. Every individual has a responsibility to keep themselves and others safe if the world is to be safe and healthy once again,” said Sam Muhumure, Head of Field Office, UNMISS Wau. “There has been consistent awareness-raising efforts by the larger UN family and UNMISS to ensure that internally displaced persons understand how this virus is transmitted, how it can be prevented and, if one contracts it, what can be done to ensure others are not infected,” he continued.
Mr. Muhumure urged the displaced communities to ensure that they observe all preventative measures possible to ensure they remain coronavirus-free.
The UNMISS Wau Field Office is currently working with local community-based organizations and national authorities to bolster a swift and effective COVID-19 response in the region.