On 17-20 of February 2020, The Rescue Initiative South Sudan organized a workshop for mobile emergency response community mobilizers. The workshop was co-facilitated by UNICEF and The Rescue Initiative South Sudan. The workshop was to equip the mobilizers with the necessary skills to inform and gather information about Ebola viral disease. In August 2018, Ebola Viral Disease or EVD outbreak was declared in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Yei River County was rated as high-risk County due to its proximity. The mobilizers move from door to door and public gathering to enlighten communities about diseases prevention and health promotion, awareness raising on GBV issues, and ANC services. The role of the community mobilizers is very critical as they mobilize the communities to attend health events as well as providing basic health messages.
The 43 mobilizers were drawn from different payams to carry on door to door sensitization about Ebola. The training also covered integrated community mobilization network, child protection, gender-based violence, nutrition and education. This training followed the first refresher training conducted in 2019 where the community mobilizers were trained on is EVD prevention, protection and control and mode of reporting, rumor tracking mechanism, Behavior Change Communication on acceptance and change of attitudes.
In his closing remarks the Director General for Health in Yei River County said “information sharing is power, it is important we inform our people about the Ebola so that they are able to protect themselves.” “The Rescue Initiative is doing a great job and I am sure you will continue to do so” he continued. The community mobilizers were selected by the community trained to cover 250 households. In Yei, there are 66 community mobilizers. The mobilizers use different approaches to pass on their messages these includes street theater, community meetings use of print media like leaflets focus group discussion community cohesion to share their stories. Viola Aate, one of the participants of the training said, “I am not fully equipped of what I am supposed to do in the community. As I leave this place, I will be able to do my work as expected. We learnt new things example integrated community mobilization network, child protection, gender-based violence, nutrition and education, rumor tracking mechanism, Behavior Change Communication on acceptance and change of attitudes.” Since the beginning of the project, TRI-SS has reached more than 567,920 with information on EVD, the mode of transmission, signs and symptoms, referral pathways in the event of a suspected case and understanding of the toll-free phone number 6666.
The Rescue Initiative Ebola awareness and prevention campaign in Yei River County is fundedby UNICEF.