Johannesburg, 08 April, 2020 / 9:29 am (ACI Africa).
The Order of Malta, a Rome-based Catholic lay Religious Order that is active in some 120 countries, is supporting efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Africa where the centuries old institution is present in over 30 nations.
Existing to care “for people in need through its medical, social and humanitarian works,” the support from the 907-year-old Catholic institution is happening against the backdrop of projections by scientists that at least 450,000 Africans could contract the highly contagious COVID-19 by the second week of May.
In South Africa where at least 1,749 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, the highest in Africa, the Order of Malta has put in place measures to ensure that the vulnerable people under its health care facilities in the eastern province of Kwazulu Natal are protected from contracting the deadly virus.
“We are running the largest in-patient hospice in the whole of South Africa. The hospice is full of immuno-compromised and frail geriatric patients,” the founder and president of the Order of Malta’s care facility in Mandeni, Kwazulu Natal, Fr. Gérard Lagleder told Vatican News in an interview April 6.
Besides the hospice, the care facility known as Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard also runs clinics, an orphanage, as well as healthcare services for outpatients in rural areas. According to Fr. Lagleder, 80 percent of the people served by the care facility live under the poverty line.