Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

By Charles Lotara

The South Sudan Red Cross Society has shouldered an exemplary responsibility of carrying out awareness campaigns around the country in their contribution to prepare the country to contain the possible outbreak of covid-19. This is happening at a very critical time when citizens need what the coronavirus is, and how devastating the impact could be when it hits the country. I had a series of discussions with random people on the streets and people at the low density suburb of the city, the reactions I got were shocking. Some said the virus can be kicked out when people got to church and pray to God. With this, it’s clear that this particular group of people have no understanding that the spreads from person to person, and that social gatherings worsen the phenomenon. Also more shocking, wearing a mask is bothering task to many. But they take no blame, especially if they have no idea of how significant that can be. My worry for the people of this country, though remained somewhat tremendous, was a little mitigated upon realizing that SSRC has launched an awareness campaign to inform citizens about how the novel coronavirus spreads, and the measures they should employ to avoid such from happening. This is a positive gesture. What if we all join Red Cross in spreading such messages to our different societies or families on our various capacities? We shall surely keep this country out of sight from coronavirus infection. The virus kills and it is real, not a myth. The bad news? There is no approved antiviral drugs for the virus, though several are being tested. Doctors can recommend only the usual remedies for any viral illness: rest, medicine to reduce pain and fever, and fluids to avoid dehydration. Coronavirus patients with pneumonia may also need oxygen, and a ventilator if breathing trouble worsens, but our health sector is ill-equipped, with such facilities almost in no existence. An experimental vaccine for the coronavirus may be ready for safety testing in humans soon, but will take much longer, at least a year or two, to become available for widespread use – if it works. These are some of the things that our people need to be told in a time such as this. South Sudan is currently surrounded by countries suffering from the virus and the pressure to keep the country is mounting on the government.

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