, 27 May, 2020 / 12:12 AM
In a bid to support the efforts undertaken by Catholic Church leaders in Zambia in the fight against COVID-19, the representative of Pope Francis in the Southern Africa nation has donated three ventilators and N95 as well as surgical masks to benefit three hospitals, saying the donation was part of the Holy Father’s initiative to help “all the African countries.”
The Apostolic Nuncio in the country, Archbishop Giafranco Gallone delivered the items to Bishop Moses Hamungole on behalf of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) on Monday, May 25.
“I know that this is a small gesture in this moment, but the Holy Father is helping all the African countries (by) sending the same contribution,” Archbishop Gallone has been quoted as saying during the handing over ceremony at ZCCB Secretariat in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
The Italian Prelate who represents Pope Francis in neighboring Malawi as well added in reference to the Holy Father, “It is his concern as a good father towards those that are suffering and do not have the necessary means to be able to cure themselves.”.
The three ventilators will be used at Cardinal Adam Memorial Hospital, Lusaka, Chilonga Mission Hospital in Muchinga province, northeast Zambia and St. Dominics' Mission Hospital in the Copperbelt province, south of the country.
The three hospitals, the Apostolic Nuncio noted, “are without proper instruments to help COVID-19 patients.”
Zambia has recorded at least 920 cases, 336 recoveries and seven related deaths.
Appreciating the donation from the Holy Father, Sr. Elizabeth Njovu from St. Dominics’ Mission Hospital noted that the ventilators “will ultimately save lives, make their mission work easy, and offer excellent response services in the three facilities.”
“The health sector, being at the frontline in the fight against the scourge has faced the most impact mainly because the fight has taken a colossal amount of resources, which would have been allocated evenly to fights of other health issues,” Sr. Njovu said.
During the handing over ceremony, the Apostolic Nuncio revealed that Pope Francis is also concerned about people who have lost jobs in Africa as a result of COVID-19, and who are affected by the looming hunger crisis.
“Aided by his collaborators, he (Pope Francis) has great desire to find (the) right ways of implementing charitable interventions for a possible food emergency throughout Africa,” the Nuncio said and added, “We hope that the situation could be mitigated by the aid of the international community.”
Reiterating the words of Pope Francis expressing his solidarity with those affected by the pandemic, the 57-year-old Prelate said, “I express my closeness to those who are suffering from COVID-19, to those who are dedicated to their care and to all those who, in any way, are suffering from the pandemic.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa