Church Prepared To Supply Drugs For Possible Ebola Emergency In Border Areas

"We also demand that the rebels control the movement of their forces because if Ebola breaks here, it has no border whether you are a government soldier, civilian or rebel, Ebola will kill all of us”

By Daniel Friday Martin

YEI (20.Aug.2019 GURTONG) The Arch bishop of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Sudan said plans are under way to secure drugs from health partners in California-United states of America to strengthen preparations against Ebola outbreak in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yei River State is one of the areas in South Sudan bordering the Ebola prone towns of Aliwara at a distance of approximately 70 kilometers South West and 42 kilometers to Aba to the West of Yei town.

Last month, the world health organization and health ministries in Uganda and DR Congo confirmed the outbreak of the feared viral disease that killed two in Uganda’s west region and one in Aliwara town of DR Congo.

Yei River State health minister Kogo Manase Levi said the state is surrounded with over fifteen porous entry points ranging from Kaya, Bazi, Morobo, Lujolo, Odabi, Senema, Kajiko, Ombasi, Lasu, Mitika, Libogo, Nyori, Tore among other short cut routes into South Sudan from DR Congo putting Yei at high risk of Ebola outbreak.

Kogo said “Despite the poor health situation of our health centers in the border areas, the ministry of health and the WHO are working day and night and from this stage I can confirm to you that we are at an advanced stage of preparation with isolation wards, establishment of screening points, trained health workers and other basic needs ready to respond in case of any Ebola outbreak”

Kogo said although it received support from partners, the demand to create awareness, provide other basic first aid kids, road infrastructure, health facilities and enough ambulances remained a challenge to tackle Ebola in the region.

“The issue of insecurity, porous entry points to and from DRC and free movement of civilians and soldiers to and from DRC remains an issue of great concern” he added.

Residents in Yei River State have been complaining to the state and national governments about the presence of the porous entry points and free movement of civilians, government soldiers and rebels in the border areas could easily import the deadly viral disease into South Sudan.

Moro Clere, a resident in Yei town said:

“I am too scared because of our worse health facilities and health service provision to the area. We demand the government to close off the border crossing points for a certain period of time and regulate the movement of people including soldiers.

"We also demand that the rebels control the movement of their forces because if Ebola breaks here, it has no border whether you are a government soldier, civilian or rebel, Ebola will kill all of us” he added.

Archbishop Elias Taban told Gurtong in a statement in his office on Wednesday that despite the role of religious leaders in preaching peace and reconciliation, the church also has a role to play in preaching awareness on Ebola disease among communities and set up preventive response to avert any Ebola outbreak on the local population around the border areas.

“Direct Relief California is shipping for us an air cargo from California to Entebbe and our track will pick them from Entebbe to Yei by next week. The assorted consignment contains 1000 kids and if there is any Ebola outbreak in Yei, Maridi or Yambio border areas, then the Government can contact us to supply them to be used in any location where there is need for Ebola emergency response” said Elias Taban.

While on a recent visit to Yei River State capital Yei, Alain Noudehou the UN resident humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan said the humanitarian community is concerned about efforts to support the fight against Ebola from reaching South Sudan.

“Ebola does not recognize any particular borders and it’s something that will be a challenge if it cross into South Sudan and we are doing what we can to stop it from entering into the country and we cannot do this in isolation; it calls for partnership at all levels. The focus now is at the state level because Yei River State is at the front line and we are here to call for consolidated efforts to stop it from reaching” said Alain.

For her part, Doctor Sinead Walsh, the European Union Ambassador to South Sudan, called on the state authorities to develop a local community approach in disseminating preventive and surveillance efforts at all levels in the front line areas of Yei River State.

Doctor Walsh also urges the government and the opposition groups to come into common understanding by availing not only free access for humanitarian workers but also join hands in combating the viral disease from entering the country.

“We need to understand the importance of in-depth community engagement by bringing in the religious and traditional leaders led by public health responds so that we start moving in the right direction. Ebola doesn’t care who we are child, woman, man, catholic, Muslim, NAS or SPLA-IO. We need to have an open approach and response by everybody”, said Ambassador Walsh.

Ebola is a hoemoghic fever characterized with high fever, bleeding from the mouth, ears and other private parts and it kills within a very short period of time.

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