“As the largest United Nations presence on the ground here in Torit, we are doing all we can to support national-led COVID-19 response,” says Caroline Waudo, Head of Office, UNMISS Torit. “We are currently refurbishing the maternity ward at the Torit State Hospital which has 12 units and aim to transform it into an isolation center for COVID-19; this center will be able to treat 24 patients at a time,” adds Ms. Waudo.
The project is being implemented by the mission’s local partner, the Community Needs Initiative (CNI), based in Juba. “We aim to complete the ongoing renovations as soon as possible to make sure the people of Eastern Equatoria have the necessary health infrastructure in place to fight this virus,” says Wani Bosco, Liaison Officer, CNI.
Furthermore, since the number of cases started increasing in South Sudan, UNMISS in Torit has distributed banners, posters and flyers with World Health Organization-approved preventative measures to raise awareness on social distancing, frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizers, and wearing facemasks in public spaces and avoiding physical contact.
“It is our duty to ensure that our peacekeepers and the communities we are here to serve remain safe and healthy,” stated Ms. Waudo, adding that she expects the work to be completed in the next couple of months.
Similar awareness-raising sessions on COVID-19 are underway in other areas of Torit, Nimule and Kapoeta; these towns share porous borders with Uganda and Kenya.