Smile Again Africa Development Organization-SAADO has once again taken the led in its intervention and response to COVID-19; fundamentally for supporting awareness raising of COVID-19 through translation of behavior change communication messages to local languages to over 6.7 million people in the Republic of South Sudan. With retrospect to remarks from the Director General of the World Health Organization in his address on the 17th April 2020, “declared that an estimated 300,000 people are expected to lose their lives in Africa due to the COVID-19 global pandemic if the current lockdown efforts is effective and the situation will get worse if the international community does not come to Africa’s aid”.
In South Sudan which is just coming out of conflict with the government of national unity formed in February 2020, the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic adds to an already dire humanitarian, development and economic challenges of unprecedented proportions where the budget to health sector has been less than 2% of the GDP for the last 6 years. Based upon this context, the government established the High-level Taskforce on COVID-19 which is collaborating with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MOGEI), UNESCO, UNICEF and other health and education partners to develop and disseminate prevention messages on COVID-19 in South Sudan. MOH has been mandated to design and ensure that health related messages are scientifically sound, culturally appropriate, simple and impactful to the majority of the population. The forms of outreach messaging include visual such as written and video as well audio messages for radio.
Therefore, based upon the background SAADO is at the edge of completing the translations of the messages to 15 local languages for Social Media Publications both Videos and Audio i.e. (Zande, Bari, Dinka, Nuer, Lutuko, Acholi, Moru and sign language on Face Book, You Tube, WhatsApp) as well as Anyuak, Murle, Baka, Mabanese, Didinga, Lango & Balanda Viri for Community Radio broadcasts.
The major objectives to this emergency intervention is to; Reach over 6.7 million people with COVID-19 preventive messages and recommended measures for containing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic by August 2020 through Radio broadcast and social media platforms, Equip and empower 380 humanitarian communication front-line workers with knowledge, skills and attitudes on COVID-19 in the targeted counties, Increase confidence of the targeted communities to cope with COVID-19 pandemic through provision of authentic information and data including prevention measures and disseminate Health communication messages distributed with well-designed information to achieve behavior change.
Thanks to our partners, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ministry of General Education and Instruction and Ministry of Health South Sudan