Church Leaders in South Sudan Launch COVID-19 Trauma Healing Helpline Center

Fr. James Oyet Latansio (Center), UK ambassador Christopher Trott (left) and Christian Aid Country Director (right) after the launch a helpline center for psychosocial and trauma healing of the people affected by COVID-19 in South Sudan.

Representatives of churches in South Sudan have partnered with Christian Aid of the Government of UK to establish a helpline center for psychosocial and trauma healing of the people affected by COVID-19, an official of their collective forum, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) has told ACI Africa.

“We are launching the psychosocial and trauma care helpline services and we have opened a Toll-Free number (2222) where any South Sudanese citizen can call to speak to our counselors,” SSCC Secretary General, Fr. James Oyet Latansio told ACI Africa in an interview after the launch, Monday, June 15.

SSCC’s COVID-19 Helpline Center for psychosocial and trauma healing is manned by experienced counselors with a mission to offer basic psychosocial counselling and follow-up to clients in a state of distress as well as provide access to factual and evidence-based information, Fr. James said.

“For the start, we are starting with six counselors and three youth volunteers who will always answer the phones,” he said and added, “The time will start from nine in the morning up to one o’clock, and then we have a lunch break, then from two o’clock up to four o’clock.”

The overall objective of the center is to improve psychosocial wellbeing and decrease distress among South Sudanese populations and citizens directly and indirectly affected by COVID-19 pandemic and other sorts of violence, according to Fr. James.


The specific objective as displayed on the center’s banner is “To mobilize Religious leaders, churches and other communities of faith against COVID-19 pandemic by managing psychosocial impact, beliefs, attitudes and social stigma.”  

The Secretary General of the Council said the toll Center will avail a forum for which citizens would be heard.

“COVID-19 has come with all its impacts, with stigma, with pain, with tears, and all its problems and many South Sudanese were not prepared for this,” the South Sudanese Cleric said.

He added, “As a way to break the silence of the victims, there is a council behind the telephone line to listen to you, to share with you, to attend to you, even to shed tears with you because at times we find ourselves with nowhere to go, with no one to call.”

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The Center has started off with MTN as the telecommunication service provider and will later include Zain among the service providers, Fr. James said.

The Cleric of South Sudan’s Yei Diocese further said that the toll-free line will be handling 12 calls at the same time but it is first going to commence with six calls on MTN line alone.

“When there will be the Zain line, 12 people will be speaking at the same time, but now at the start only six people will be speaking,” said Fr. James.

“You don’t need to have airtime in your phone, all you need is a battery to be strong,” he disclosed.

He expressed optimism that the Council of Churches will receive future donations from well-wishers to help in responding to the spiritual needs affecting the people of South Sudan.


Speaking to the press Monday, June 15, Christian Aid Country Director, James Wain, said the assistance provided by the UK government to propel the church initiative of pastoral and psychosocial support will run for six months.

“The support provided to us is able to pay salaries of volunteers; we are also supporting the church to cover the basic running cost of the service from the center,” Mr. Wani said.

He added, “What we have is sufficient enough to run the Center for at least six months. In terms of cash, we are looking at around 45 to 50,000 British pounds.”