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COVID-19 threatens millions of S.Sudanese children -Save the Children

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Monday, April 13, 2020

A child carries his younger sister on his back. Both children are living on the street in Aweil, South Sudan | Credit | UNICEF

Save the Children says millions of children across South Sudan will greatly be exposed to severe hunger and other diseases due to the impact of Coronavirus.

According to the agency, the situation will worsen for over 2.5 million children experiencing food insecurity and illnesses if the COVID-19 situation worsens in South Sudan.

There are currently four confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.

Experts say the health system in the country is incapable of handling a full-blown outbreak of the virus.

The government’s COVID-19 taskforce states that there are only four ventilators available in the country.

In a statement on Saturday, Save the Children warned that a rapid spread of the disease in the country will cause havoc in already-stretched health services.

“As the country enters malaria and pneumonia season, we’re very concerned that a[it] will reach a breaking point,” the statement read.

The organization also raised concerns over the potential economic impact of the pandemic on children’s wellbeing, education and their protection in the country.

It asserts that any further economic slowdown triggered by COVID-19, coupled with food insecurity, is likely to have a heavy toll on child mortality.

“With humanitarian funding already in decline, this global pandemic caught everyone unaware. Funding is urgently needed to ensure that our response in South Sudan reaches every child, especially those most in need,” said Rama Hansraj, Country Director, Save the Children South Sudan.

He urges the government to allocate funds for building a robust health system, [and] “to ensure it has the capacity to not only treat the current COVID-19 outbreak but also allow it to continue to focus on other killer diseases of children under five.”

South Sudan annually allocates about 3% of the national budget to the health sector.

According to the World Health Organization, there is only one doctor per 65,000 people in South Sudan.

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