Vice-President Rebecca Nyandeng tests positive for COVID-19

Vice-President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior tests positive for COVID-19 | File

South Sudan’s Vice-President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus upon arrival from Nairobi, Kenya, her office announced on Thursday.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, the Executive Director in the office the office of the Vice-President, Chaat Paul Nul, confirmed that the South Sudanese official is in stable condition are being quarantined at home.

According tO the World Health Organization (WHO), from 3 January 2020 to March 17, 2021, there have been 9,613 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 104 deaths in South Sudan.

Nyandeng was appointed last year as Vice-President for Gender and Youth Cluster in accordance with the implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health and the National Task-Force on COVID-19 issued a statement extending the ongoing partial lockdown until April 3 as a countermeasure to curb the spread of coronavirus cases in the country.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga tests positive for COVID-19

Kenyan veteran politician and former-Prime Minister | Courtesy Photo

A Kenyan veteran opposition leader, and former Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga has tested positive for COVID-19, his personal doctors confirmed in a statement.

“Following my letter of the 10th of March 2021 we have confirmed that Rt. Hon. Odinga has SARS-2 COVID 19. He is responding well to the treatment he is recciving at The Nairobi Hospital and remains upbeat. We are continuing to monitor his progress,” said a Consultant Neurosurgeon, David L. Oluach-Olunya.

Odinga, 76, has been a mainstay of Kenyan politics since the 1980s, and remains hugely popular despite losing four shots at the presidency.

Suspected case of Guinea worm reported in Longechuk, South Sudan

Formed blister on the lower foot signaling the presence of Guinea Worm Disease | Photo: Thessherald

Humanitarian health workers have reported a suspected case of Guinea worm disease (also known as Dracunculiasis) in Longchuk County, one of the remote areas in Upper Nile state.

“Three days ago, we detected a suspected case of Guinea worm infection in Longchuk County,” said Lim Gambella, an Operations Officer working for Relief International.

Dracunculiasis is an infection caused by a parasite called Guinea worm. A person becomes infected when they drink contaminated water. The disease has been eradicated in most parts of the world, but it is still present in South Sudan, Ethiopia Chad and Mali.

Guinea worm disease (GWD) is one of the main causes of disabilities in rural communities that lack access to clean drinking water.

As of the end of February 2018, the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, declared that the country was Guinea worm-free after registering zero cases for more than 14 months.

Attempt by Thessherald to reach health authorities for comment hit a snag.

Central Bank Governor Dier Ngor test positive for COVID-19

Central Bank Governor, Hon. Dier Tong Ngor | Photo: File
Central Bank Governor, Hon. Dier Tong Ngor | Photo: File

Central Bank Governor, Hon. Dier Tong Ngor | Photo: File

The Governor of the Central Bank of South Sudan, Hon. Dier Tong Ngor has tested positive for COVID-19 and self-isolated himself at home.

In a brief statement on social media, Tong assured members of the public to be optimistic and remain less concerned about his health condition as the symptoms are not severe.

He also said that he would work from home to avoid spreading the virus to other people until he fully recovers.

“To all family members, colleagues, and friends. This is to announce to you that I have just tested covid19 positive. As of now, I have no any severe symptoms, only a mild body and muscles aches and a mild dry cough. No fever, no headache, no lost of taste or smell or running nose. I will be working from home from tomorrow, since I will be on self isolation for the next two week. I shall be updating you from time to time.”

Hon. Dier Tong Ngor was appointed as the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan (BSS) on May 9th, 2018, making him the 4th Governor since the independence of South Sudan. Prior to his appointment, he was serving as the 1st Deputy Governor (BSS) and had served in different capacities within BSS over the years.

Earlier this month, the National Taskforce on Coronavirus imposed a partial lockdown following an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

South Sudan toughens restrictive measures as COVID-19 cases surge

South Sudan has toughened restrictive measures amid an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, the Chairman of the National Task-Force on COVID-19, Hussein Abdelbaggi, announced on Wednesday.

“Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 Pandemic in the Country and around the globe, and as precautionary measures for all public and private sectors, the National Taskforce on COVID-19 is hereby putting in place the following Measures:

• 1) Ban of all social gatherings such as sporting events, religious events including Sunday Church Prayers, “Salat Al Juma” -Mosque Prayers, funerals, weddings ceremonies and political events;

• 2) Closure of all pre-schools, schools, Universities and all other institutions of learning except elasses scheduled for examinations with observations of striet protective measures;

• 3) Both private and public sectors to make provision to allow the non- essential staff to stay home on a paid leave or alternate their staff in shifts;

• 4) Closure of all businesses, which attract crowds such as; shisha stalls, bars, nightclubs, day parties, betting, cards and dominos. Meanwhile, Restaurants and tea places must strictly adhere to Covid-19 measures otherwise, failure to do so they can be closed;

• 5) Limiting bus and taxi passenger load to half capacity, restricting Raksha to two passengers and Bodaboda to cargo transport of strictly one person as long as there is a mask;

• 6) All the incoming passengers flights must have COVID-19 free test certificates;

• 7) Council of Ministers shall conduct only extra ordinary meetings with strict protective measures;

• 8) Strict mandatory wearing of facemask, strict social distancing and avoid handshake;

• 9) Airports and flights country wide shall observe strict adherence to COVID-19 measures;

• 10) All the Uniformed forces must strictly follow COVID-19 measures and finally, the National Taskforce instructs the law enforcement Agencies to take immediate action to impose the order as of today, 3rd February, 2021;

• 11) These measures shall last for a period of one month from the 3rd of February to 3rd of March, 2021 but subject to review.”

• 12) The National Taskforce on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic remains seized of the situation.

Signed By:

H.E. Hussein Abdelbagi Akol Vice President of the Repnblic of South Sudan and Chairman of the National Taskforce on COVID-19

Why training of both male and female midwives is necessary in South Sudan

Opinion | By Tong Deng Anei

Nursing and Midwifery students jointly trained by the Arizona State University Solar SPELL Initiative and ASU Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation | Photo: Juba School of Nursing and Midwifery

Opinion —News feature article on Radio Tamazuj, published on 27 December 2020, with title, “Communities in Aweil Reject Male Midwives,” just caught my attention with much interest. The complaints voiced by some community members against the introduction of male midwifery professionals is not new and surprising to me as a former State Minister of health in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State (NBG), who was involved in the implementation of the National Ministry of Health (MOH) Policy Framework 2013-2016.

Let me start by saying that the ultimate objective for midwifery programming is to reduce the highest rate of maternal mortality rates. Hence, this is the context in which the training of midwifery in Aweil and other Health Science Institutes across South Sudan work.

For example, “South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates (MMR) in the world, estimated at 2054/100,000 live births. Although 46.7%5 of pregnant women attend at least one antenatal clinic (ANC) visit, skilled health professionals attend only 14.7% of deliveries”

(MOH 2013/2016 policy Framework).

The main objectives for training midwifery are as follows:

1: To increase the utilization and quality of health services, with emphasis on maternal and child health.

2: To scale up health promotion and protection interventions so as to empower communities to take charge of their health.

3: To strengthen institutional functioning including governance and health system effectiveness and efficiency.

And the following are priority areas:

1: Adequate human resource for health (HRH), which is the greatest asset of the health system (training, recruitment, the motivation of the adequate number of the right skill mix, right support). Human resource is a cornerstone for efficient health service delivery.

2: Improve accessibility of health services for the population by providing additional health infrastructures (Primary Health Care Centers (PHCCs), Primary Health Care Units (PHCUs), hospitals) and reactivating nonfunctional health facilities. The latter cannot be achieved in absence of HRH.

South Sudan faced a severe shortage of health workers in number and skills. Most health facilities are run by Community Health Workers (CHWs). The issue of staff shortage is noted as a priority both in the Health Sector Development Plan and State Strategic plan. During study undertaken in 2013/2014, the accessibility to health facilities by the population is estimated to be at 7.8%. This shows that most of our people have no access to health services. It was our goal to ensure that at least 50% of the population access health services by increasing the training of healthcare workers.

It was established that reducing maternal and under-five mortality is a priority area so that we achieve MDG 4 and 5. In 2013/2014, the state Maternal Mortality rate is 2182/100,000 deliveries, and Under-five mortality rate is 165/1000 live births. Both these indicators were highest in NBG state and the aim is to reduce by 20% over three years’ period.

The following were the key activities and achievements of State Ministry of Health (SMOH) 2014– 2015, financial year:

• In order to address human resource shortages and skills gaps at the healthcare facilities, 100 staff were recruited for the state of which 43 were posted to Aweil state hospital. Additional 500 health workers were recruited under the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded Health Pooled Fund (HPF) and 65 staffs were promoted to different functional grades.

• 45 students were accepted in various health science institutes across the country and 13 students were sent to Caribbean Island to study medicine at St. George University. A total of 140 students were enrolled to study for clinical medicine, nursing and midwifery in Aweil Health Science Institute and 5 students from Aweil East were sponsored for a long term diploma training in midwifery and nursing.

• However the SMOH is faced with cultural barrier challenges. SMOH was not able to enrol adequate qualify female into the midwifery Diploma program because the parents are not willing to allow their daughters to long term training program.

The SMOH was left with no choice but to enroll the good number of young men and few women into the midwifery program. The training program, designed to provide save deliveries is not appreciated by the traditional birth attendants (TBA) women who felt to have been left redundant as a result of the midwifery development program. After noting this, the SMOH was planning to develop an exit strategy for the TBA so that doesn’t feel ignored. I hope the State government will implement this strategy to ensure that the role played by the TBA in absent of the professional midwives is appreciated.

Mr Tong Deng Anei is a former minister of health in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State (NBG). He can be reached via

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Newsflash: Minister of Health Acuei fires Incident Manager on COVID-19

May 30, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan’s Minister of Health, Elizabeth Acuei Yol has issued a ministerial directive, dismissing the Incident Manager on COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Angok Gordon Kuol from his assignment.

Press Statement

Ministerial Order No 004/2020 Termination of the Temporary Assignment of the Incident Manager for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

The Order

In exercise of powers conferred upon me under Article 114 (2) (C) and Article 31 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 (as amended), read together with the Republican Decree No. 222/2020; 1, Elizabeth Acuei Yol, the Minister for Health, do hereby issue this Ministerial Order as follows:

1- Termination of Assignment of Dr Angok Gordon Kuol from the post of Incident Manger for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Outbreak in the Republic of South Sudan. Dr Kuol shall continue in his position as Director of the Public Health Institute based at the Ministry of Health Headquarters in Juba.

2- Appointment of Dr Richard Lino Lako as the Incident OF Manager for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Outbreak in RY MEALTE the Republic of South Sudan.

3- The Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health is hereby directed to take the necessary action to implement this order.

4- This Order comes into force on the date of its signature by the Minister.

Re: Handing Over of the Office of the Incident Manager for COVID-19

Pursuant to the provisions of Ministerial Order No 004/2020 dated 27th May 2020 (attached), I wish to advise the following: 1- Kindly hand over, with immediate effect, the Office of the Incident Manager for including asserts to Dr Richard Lino Lako, the newly appointed Incident Manager for COVID-19 Pandemic.

2- You shall continue to discharge your duties as the Director of Public Health Institute.

3- Please report to your office located at the Ministry of Health’s Headquarters. On behalf of the Honourable Minister and staff of the Ministry, I wish to thank you for your service during your tenure as the Incident Manager for COVID-19 Pandemic. Wish You all the best in your new endeavours.

Coronavirus Needs Urgent Intervention By President And Presidency

Opinion | By Dr. John Gai Yoh

May 30, 2020 (Thessherald)–The alarming rise in number of cases is urging for the need of an urgent intervention from the President and members of Presidency.

Announcing 188 cases in one day without an emergency meeting of the leadership of the country is troublesome for a country in crisis.
The Minister of Health did not meet the President of the Republic for a couple of weeks while COVID-19 is creating havoc in the capital and in states.

I would suggest that the government should take the following urgent actions within coming seven days:

  1. Parties to agreement should agree on the distribution of states, numbers of ministers and advisors, number of legislature members in the states and distribution of the counties. The new states governors should leave immediately to their states to form their governments and curve the inter-communal conflicts and the threat of COVID 19.
  2. Pay salaries for March, April and May 2020 to all who work with government. Funds for salaries should be availed by all means.
  3. In collaboration with WFP and partners food should be distributed to vulnerable residents in the capital and in capitals of ten states and the three administrative areas for at least one month and half rations.
  4. Urgent restructuring of national taskforce committee to compose mainly of medical professionals and a few security representatives and provide them with needed protection tools, operational funds, review the current top leadership of the ministry of health.
  5. Declare a total lockdown in the whole country.

The author is a former Minister of General Higher Education, Science and Technology and later was appointed as Presidential Advisor.

South Sudan records 92 COVID-19 cases, two more deaths

COVID-19 Update

May 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan’s Ministry of Health has today announced 92 new cases of coronavirus, raising the country’s tally to 655, with two death cases linked to COVID-19.

So far, only six patients have fully recovered since the outbreak of the disease in the world’s youngest nation.

Earlier this month, global researchers issued an alert, warning that South Sudan is teetering on the edge of becoming a new hub of the virus, if stringent measures are not taken.

The country has one of the weakest health systems on record, as a result of years of violence with over 7 million people facing food insecurity.

It is also believed that the recent presidential order, which eased preventive measures, has exacerbated the situation.

Lawmaker blames botched COVID-19 response on gov’t officials

Bor Gatwech Kuany, member of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly/ Photo: His Facebook Profile
Bor Gatwech, member of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly/ Photo: Facebook profile picture

May 21, 2020 (Thessherald)–A member of the incumbent Transitional National Legislative Assembly, Bor Gatwech Kuany has blamed political leaders for failing to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic by not providing much needed medical facilities in the country.

“This week, Juba situation with Coronavirus is tense. Many people are being confirmed positive while several people have died. The ignorance that there is no COVID-19 is fading. People are now worried while the government is ill prepared in its respond. So far, there are only few hundreds of beds with dozen of ventilators at both Juba teaching hospital and Dr. JOHN Garang’ Infectious Disease Unit.”

Bor explained that one of the patients with COVID-19 died two days ago as a result of not getting an effective ventilator.

“In fact, some one passed away two days ago simply because all the ventilators were occupied. No one nose could have been taken out so his nose could be fix in to get some oxygen.”

“The single centre designated for treatment is being expanded to more few beds. But the spread of the virus is proving to be much more faster than any initiative being made by the government to contain it so far.”

The lawmaker pointed out that due to ignorance, members of the public decided to violate the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization, which led to the spread of the disease.

“The government response to contain the virus by enforcing social distancing, washing hands and so on have miserably failed because of ignorance. It seems to have left it to deal with the public naturally since most of the leaders that were engaged in combating the virus are now under quarantine.”

“The situation in Juba now with Coronavirus is like pre-December 2013. At that time, people knew the war was looming but have no power to stop it except the leaders. That war eventually killed around 300,000 people, two percent of the country population though the leaders had the capacity to avert and save the lives of the people. With current situation, the leaders also have the capacity to help save lives if they properly plan, decide, put money and make the law enforcement agencies enforce their directives.”

“According to WHO estimates, in any infection, the fatality rate of the corona virus is around 3%. So if the whole country is allowed to smoke the virus as the situation seems to be, the people who will die will be more than those killed by our last civil war.”

“Like pre-2013, every one now in Juba is worried of the looming Coronavirus catastrophe. Since the government is unable to enforce disciplinary measures to contain the virus, every one will be left to pass through it and either survive or pass on. If you survive, then you will be part of the herd immunity like after 2013 war, all those who survived the war became part of the revitalized government. The bad part of it is that Coronavirus war is different from our political war: it doesn’t discriminate. Though our last civil war was killing mostly only those who are not zol kebiir, Coronavirus attack every one.”

He recommended the following preventive measures that, if observed , would contain the spread of the virus.

Our leaders still have the last chance to save our country. If I were the President, I would lock down the country. But before that, give out any money we have so we can do few things:

• Expand treatment centres and fill them with ventilators and medicines. We can convert the redundant church and mosque buildings to be treatment centers.

• Anybody who is confirmed positive wether symptomatic or asymptomatic should not be allowed to roam around or be with his or her uninfected family or community. The government should immediately take care of them, put them in a place being monitored by the government.

• Give six month salaries to all government employees and pay any arrears the government owe to any employees

• Identify and provide food to the most vulnerable like those in the POC and any other group.

• Deploy all our security forces to enforce the lockdown all across the country.

• Ban any communal burials or gatherings around the dead. All people who died of Coronavirus should be buried by health professionals. People who died with other illnesses should be buried by only close few relatives. No funerals to be conducted at all until Corona is defeated. No transportation of the dead to the villages or ancestral lands.

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