South Sudan uses radio to communicate COVID-19 information
By Patrick Oyet
Stella Loki, on air at Advance Youth Radio Station /CGTN

Stella Loki, on air at Advance Youth Radio Station /CGTN

Radio stations in South Sudan have become a major player in disseminating information on the coronavirus.

The country is in a partial lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

South Sudan has only one television station. And since electricity is inaccessible in many parts of the country, radio is what many are relying on to get updates on coronavirus.

Radio journalists in South Sudan say more than 90 percent of their programs are now on coronavirus.

"We are trying so much to incorporate coronavirus information and updates on our programming by encouraging every presenter to at least update the public on the incoming updates that we are getting through the incoming press releases and we are also putting out public service information or announcements on coronavirus," said Stella Loki, a radio presenter at Advance Youth Radio in South Sudan's capital, Juba.

Stella added the station is now minimizing the number of guests going on live shows, and some radio presenters are conducting interviews over the phone instead.

The station also provides a platform for the audience to call and ask questions on coronavirus.

Guests at Advance Youth Radio Station /CGTN

Guests at Advance Youth Radio Station /CGTN

As much of the globe is turning to the use of video conferencing and online communication, South Sudan is just recovering from six years of civil war. It has limited infrastructure like internet, television or newspapers to educate the masses on the coronavirus, radios are what many here are relying on for information on COVID-19.

More than 180,000 South Sudanese still live in Internally Displaced Persons' camps.

Many of them have been there since 2013 when civil war broke out in South Sudan.

Radio is the major source of information for the displaced.

"I heard about the coronavirus over the radio and because of what I heard, I now wash my hands with soap, I also make sure I wash my children's hands with soap before giving them food," said Joyce Tabu, an Internally Displaced Person at Don Bosco in Juba.

Guests on air at Advance Youth Radio Station. /CGTN

Guests on air at Advance Youth Radio Station. /CGTN

South Sudan's government is urging those still sheltering in the refugee or Internally Displaced Persons' camps to voluntarily return to their own homes to avoid crowding and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The government is also producing short public service announcements that are aired over the radio.