The Covid-19 crisis is becoming more serious in South Sudan, including in the Nimule area. The biggest challenge in Nimule in the battle against Coronavirus is its proximity to the border with Uganda where long distance truck drivers are the only people permitted to enter South Sudan. It is an important entry point for food, fuel and other consumer items as the road from Nimule to Juba is the only tarmac access to the capital city. It is a recognised fact that truck drivers are the main conductors of infection between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan. This makes Nimule a high risk area, making the production of face masks crucial in local attempts to control the spread of the virus. However, face masks are in very short supply.
HUMAES has been hard at work promoting awareness for the local community. They have done this through visiting different locations and distributing hand-washing facilities and soap. Also, they have worked with youth groups to produce debates and dramas to be broadcast on the local radio station, RMC Radio 101.5 FM. They are now also distributing locally made face masks. These face masks are being produced by local tailors using cotton fabric bought in the local market. This helps with livelihoods as well as being an important part of the effort to control Covid-19. Supporting the local community is always the priority in all that HUMAES does.
As we do not have funding for producing the face masks, we are charging for the cost of material plus the cost of tailoring. We are not making any profit as it is very important that the face masks are as affordable as possible. The design of the face masks has been checked by the World Health Organisation and the Director of the County Health Department who agreed that the design is suitable for community use, although not for use by medical staff.