Irish humanitarian aid agency GOAL has received almost €4 million in funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Sudan and South Sudan.
The funding will be used to help GOAL and its partners reach over 200,000 people living in vulnerable communities and contain the spread of the virus. Both Sudan and South Sudan have high rates of infection and are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic due to weak health systems and political instability.
To date, Sudan has 6,427 cases of COVID-19 with 389 deaths, whilst South Sudan has 1,604 officially confirmed cases with 19 deaths. In Sudan, COVID-19 is confirmed in all states.
With the FCDO funding, GOAL will be rolling out its evidence-based Community-Led Action (CLA) approach, which will put communities at the centre of the fight against the spread of the virus. This community empowering approach was developed by GOAL as part of its response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.
In Sudan the programme will target approximately 48,000 internally displaced people in Kassab and Fata Borno camps, and people in Kutum Town in North Darfur. In South Kordofan, GOAL will target 70,000 people living in Dilling, one of the most populous areas in the state, with high levels of food insecurity and diseases. They will support 4,000 refugees near Abujubeiha.
Meanwhile in South Sudan, GOAL will be focusing on already vulnerable communities including the elderly, people with disabilities, children and community members with pre-existing illness in Upper Nile, Unity State and Jonglwei. It hopes to reach over 20,000 households or over 100,000 people.
As part of the CLA approach, GOAL will be messaging communities in both countries through radio and poster campaigns as well as through direct training sessions on social distancing and good hygiene.
GOAL will also work with local officials in both Sudan and South Sudan to prepare and support health facilities to deal with the pandemic. It will be distributing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), supporting outpatient consultants and developing disease alert systems that can inform authorities of local infections within 48 hours.