Covid-19 – JHSI Suspends Operations

Covid-19 Africa map
South Sudan is one of five countries in Africa that are most susceptible to the spread of infectious diseases like Covid-19.

We begin this update with the unchanging truth that Jesus Christ is in control now with the same power that created everything at the beginning:

‘…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.’

Hebrews 1:2-3

Partial Lockdown in South Sudan

The global outbreak of Covid-19 has now spread into South Sudan with the first confirmed case reported on 5th April. On top of this, a debilitating swarm of locusts is devouring crops across East Africa, including in South Sudan where 50% of the population suffer from critical food insecurity already.

Reported cases of Covid-19 in sub-Saharan Africa are now beginning to multiply with 142 reported in Kenya and 52 in Uganda as of 6th April. As well as affecting health across these countries, the virus will have a devastating impact on churches’ ability to operate as virtual meeting technology is not as readily available.

Although South Sudan only has one confirmed case so far, we are already starting to see the impact of the pandemic across AID projects and will update you on this over the next few weeks, starting with the JHSI.

Juba, the capital of South Sudan

Jonglei Health Sciences Institute

This is the latest report from Dr Anil Cherian, the coordinator of the JHSI:

‘Shalini and I are in Bor and locked in because the airports are closed down. Since Monday South Sudan is in a partial lock down and so we have also closed the Institute and asked the students to remain at home from yesterday. Testing is presently available in Juba but we do not have any reports of positive cases. In Bor, testing is supposed to start from this week. The WHO is supplying a few kits – 50.

With almost negligible medical supplies even before the pandemic and no ICU capacity, those who develop ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) will most probably die. Also with nearly 50% of the children being malnourished unlike other countries, children and young people will also be affected. So it is like being in a closed room with a ticking bomb.’

Please pray for Anil and Shalini as they make decisions on how to proceed and for their students as they adjust to the interruption of their studies. Pray that God would use their skills to bring healing and high-quality care for those who contract Covid-19.

We will be in touch again soon with updates from our other projects. It is certain that the pandemic is going to affect the work of AID in far-reaching and obstructive ways. But it is also certain that God is working out His plan in ways that we are not yet able to understand. May we all remember the below over the next few months:

‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.’

Psalm 147:3-5