Ebola staff

Fighting the Ebola in South Sudan: Heroes in the frontline keeping everyone aware and protected

By Zipporah Karani, Communications Coordinator

Since August 2018, World Vision has been conducting Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) awareness activities following the outbreak of the disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Currently, it runs screening services for surveillance in seven borders or points of entry located in Yambio Airstrip, Yambio Isolation Unit, Gangura, Makpandu Refugee Camp, Sakure, Basukampbi, Nabiapai (Ezo) & Ezo County Hospital and Bangagai Primary Health Care Unit (PHCU).

The Ebola Isolation unit in Yambio was constructed by the World Food Programme (WFP) and was officially handed over to World Vision after completion to support preparedness and response. World Vision’s Ebola team also supports referral of suspected cases from border point of entry to the isolation unit in Yambio. Samples collected are sent to a laboratory in Juba for further analysis and confirmation of results using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine if they are negative or positive of the virus.

 

The Ebola preparedness team is actively involved on surveillance and social mobilization to create mass awareness in the communities about the disease. The South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF) has provided funding to World Vision in equipping staff working in points of entry, surveillance equipment, medical supplies and training of health care workers.

The Health Pooled Fund (HPF) supported World Vision in training selected health workers in 19 health facilities on EVD infection, social mobilization, purchase of screening equipment and supplies and support other prevention measures.

The team is responsible in screening for surveillance, social mobilization and awareness for the community people to better understand Ebola. The Yambio Isolation Unit is staffed with a medical officer, clinical officers, nurses, hygienist, guards and cleaners. Medical equipment has been set up to ensure the facility can appropriately respond. South Sudan borders neighboring DRC and at very high risk of possible Ebola virus disease infection. The country is on high alert but no confirmed case has been detected.

As part of the campaign, a vaccination exercise for Ebola virus infection was officially launched in Yambio. It will be extended to five other isolation units and 88 health facilities around Yambio, Ezo and Nzara counties where frontline health workers will also be vaccinated. At the border point of entry, staff of nine health facilities and five isolation units, along with other frontline workers will be vaccinated as first key responders in several high-risk areas. The exercise is part of national preparedness and response efforts. Dr. Betty said all health workers need to have continuous first hand basic knowledge on Ebola to know how to deal with the infected cases without contracting the infections.