, 12 July, 2020 / 8:00 PM
Officials of the humanitarian and development arm of Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Caritas Congo have, in a July 8 report published by Caritas Internationalis, explained how they are striving to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread out of control in the Central African nation.
In the report, the officials explain how, through various media platforms, they are combating misinformation, which they say is a challenge since a number of people have “misconceptions about the coronavirus” and “even deny its existence.”
“Caritas is producing adverts for radio and television, sending informative SMSs to people’s mobile phones and connecting up with people on social media. They’re putting posters in parishes and at strategic points in the city, as well as distributing leaflets,” officials of Caritas Congo has been quoted as saying in the report.
They add, “Caritas is sending staff and volunteers into communities with megaphones so they can get across prevention messages directly to anyone and everyone who will listen. They carry sanitizing hand gel, masks and gloves to distribute to people.”
For the aged people who are at a higher risk of contracting the disease, Caritas Congo officials say they are ensuring that prevention messages reach care homes and that the elderly have the means to prevent the spread of the virus.
To boost the immunity of the elderly and help them stay healthy, Caritas Congo personnel are also providing daily food rations worth 2,100 calories.
Caritas Congo has also partnered with the medical department of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa to donate a respirator, oxygen, infrared thermometers and other equipment to Kikimi Hospital in the nation’s capital, Kinshasa.
The Central African nation has reported at least 7,432 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 182 related deaths; 3,226 have recovered from the virus.
The COVID-19 response, Caritas Congo officials say, “builds on what communities have and what they’ve learnt from Ebola.”
“In the cities in the east, such as Goma, Butembo, Bunia, Beni, Bukavu, there were already handwashing stations, prevention posters etc., which will continue to be useful in the current pandemic while still being useful against Ebola, which can re-emerge at any time,” COVID-19 focal point person for Caritas Congo, Emmanuelle Bofoe has been quoted as saying.
He adds, “Our experience with Ebola has helped a lot because the actions to stop the spread of COVID-19 are similar to the ones to stop Ebola, but with a greater focus on mask wearing, confinement and social distancing.”
Meanwhile, the personnel of Caritas Niger are focusing on COVID-19 prevention efforts by ensuring “parishes, communities, health centers and schools have the means to protect themselves against the pandemic through high standards of hand hygiene.”
In a July 7 report published by Caritas Internationalis, officials of the humanitarian arm of Catholic Bishops in Niger say there are challenges to keeping hands clean in a country, which is “mostly desert and where clean water is scarce."
They add, “Besides, towns and cities are overcrowded and people migrate a lot internally and externally for work, raising the possibility of spreading infections.”
The West African nation has recorded at least 1,093 COVID-19 cases, 68 related deaths and 968 recoveries from the virus.
Currently, Caritas Niger officials are concentrating their prevention efforts in the Archdiocese of Niamey and the Diocese of Maradi, which fall in the largest and second largest cities in the West African nation respectively.
In their recent initiative, Caritas Niger personnel donated to Mariana school in the Archdiocese of Niamey “20 handwashing stations, 156 bottles of hand sanitizers, 200 litres of liquid soap and 3,000 masks,” the leadership of Caritas Niger reported July 5.
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