(JHR trained journalist John Agok of Agamlong NewsPaper)
The government should not spend all money on Covid19 measures while neglecting other priorities such as other urgent medical attention, relief services for people cut off and those participating in essential agricultural activities.
“The government’s failure to provide clean drinking water, food security, and health services to its dear citizens is a flagrant violation of Human Rights,” says Edmond Yakani, Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization to JHR trained journalist, John Agok of Agamlong NewsPaper on Monday.
“The outbreak of Covid19 pandemic, came with restrictions like social distancing and personal hygiene programs that affect the livelihoods of the citizens. Our country’s medical services are weak. The government, especially the Ministry of Health, needs to adapt the National Health policy to balance priorities by allocating budget to other neglected issues: responding to HIV/Aids, diabetes, vaccination of children, and also on livestock rather than focusing on Covid19 alone”, he said.
Yakani also urged the Ministry of Finance to allocate budget for other people who are vulnerable, like those in prisons, people in Protection of Civilians camps (POC) that lack basic needs to combat hunger and ways to fight Covid19, such as water for handwashing and respiratory hygiene.
“We welcome the President’s decision to form a new High-Level Task Force (HLTF), but I am cautioning them to let the decision-making process of the HLTF to be informed by medical professionals, not politicians, for it to be effective,” he concluded.
However, the acting chairperson of South Sudan’s doctors union, Dr. Antonie Garang commended the President by forming the newly HLTF in bringing technocrats together with an aim to collectively counteract Covid19 pandemic in the country. “The medical doctors are doing their best in treating other diseases like diabetes, malaria, among other illnesses, despite the current shortages of medicine in health facilities in the country “, he said.
In response to citizen grievances on hunger and diseases not related to Covid19, Mr. Mandela Nelson, a business vendor at Konyokonyo market says, “There is need for our government to respond on such numerous challenges and disturbances created by the lockdown and later on restrictions to combat the spread of Covid19, as these measures are likely to intensify the threat of other illnesses, such as malaria, cholera, malnutrition, and measles, as resources become scarcer. International NGOs find it more difficult to move around and replace staff, and already-minimal health services become even harder to access. The business also slumps in prices since borders restrict the movement of goods and services in regard to Covid19 pandemic”, he explains.