The United Nations has given $2 million to South Sudan to support critical Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) preparedness activities in the country.
The EVD activities are preventive measures to protect an estimated 440,000 people in high-risk areas, mostly in Equatoria, which borders the Ebola-hit DR Congo.
In its weekly briefs, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) disclosed that the money would help to strengthen surveillance, build case management capabilities and enhance laboratory services and increase infection prevention and control in Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria.
“The implementation of the preparedness plan continues across border areas considered to be at high risk of EVD. These include entry screening of travellers at selected points, health facility and community-based EVD surveillance, and community engagement,” the agency said
“Capacity for infection prevention and control, case management, and for safe and dignified burials is also being enhanced. Nineteen screening points are operational across the country."
Ocha said further that several NGOs in Yei had already trained and deployed 40 community-based mobilisers in five communities for house to house sensitisation.
Further, said the agency, the construction of a temporary holding unit had been completed in Nimule in Eastern Equatoria.
Twenty healthcare workers were trained on infection prevention and control, case management and water, sanitation and hygiene activities in Juba, and another 40 health workers were trained in Maridi.
About 56 health facility workers were also trained and given cell phones to help with reporting on surveillance, Ocha disclosed.
Despite the preparedness response, the agency added that consistent access to areas outside Yei County remained a challenge due to insecurity.
On January 29, aid partners reported that they had failed to secure humanitarian access to Lasu in Otogo County to verify reports of the arrival of over 7,000 returnees from the DRC, who would require EVD screening.
“Efforts to secure access are continuing, to be able to reach areas as needed in February and March to undertake critical preparedness activities,” Ocha noted.
South Sudan populations residing along the borders with DR Congo have been living with fear of Ebola spread.