Healthcare Staff in Zambia Serving “patiently under very difficult circumstances”: Bishops

Members of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB).

Catholic Bishops in Zambia have expressed their appreciation for the services rendered by the country’s healthcare workers who, according to the Bishops, are serving the people of God in the southern Africa nation “patiently under very difficult circumstances.”

The Bishops’ expression of appreciation is contained in a Wednesday, July 22 video message addressed to healthcare providers.

Delivered by the Director of Health and Consecrated Life of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), Bishop Patrick Chisanga, Catholic Prelates in Zambia express “gratitude and recognition of your selfless service to the people, often carried out patiently under very difficult circumstances.”

“The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has rendered your already very difficult working environment not only much more difficult but also extremely risky,” the Bishops.

They add reference to the country’s healthcare staff, “You have nevertheless continued to soldier on and attend to the patients who visit your facility with the love and care and dignity that can only be traced back to Jesus Christ, the great healer and your model.”

“Through you, Jesus has continued to bring hope and wholeness to broken humanity. Thank You! We salute you the gallant frontline workers and encourage you to continue serving the vulnerable of our communities with even greater dedication for the Lord assures you that whatever you did to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” the Local Ordinary of Zambia’s Mansa Diocese says on behalf of the members of ZCCB.

The landlocked Southern African country has recorded at least 3,583 cases of COVID-19 including 1,677 recoveries and 128 fatalities.

Various stakeholders in the country have expressed their concerns about the laxity in adhering to COVID-19 preventive measures. 

In a statement issued July 20, the Zambia Human Rights Commission said there is a “kind of denial, public health regulations and guidelines of social distancing, masking up, washing hands with soap, and avoiding handshakes or any form of body contact were in most cases not being observed” among the citizenry.  

Similarly, the leadership of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has indicated that “laxity on COVID-19 preventive measures in Zambia has come at a time when community transmission of COVID-19 is steadily increasing.”

At the end of their plenary session on July 17, members of ZCCB noted the negligence in adhering to the restrictions and warned that “COVID-19 is not a story but real.” 

“In spite of all the measures that the Ministry of Health has continued to implore citizens to follow, it is saddening to see that life has continued as before in most areas in Zambia. Social distancing and wearing of masks are not being observed even by the very people who pronounced the measures. This explains the spike in numbers we are now facing,” the Bishops said in their July 17 collective statement.

They added, “Nobody knows how many and how far the pandemic will go before it starts showing signs of stabilizing.”  

As a way forward, the members of ZCCB have called on Zambians to “come together and renew the fight against this common enemy – COVID-19.”

“There is an urgent need for all citizens to seriously adhere to the measures put in place to prevent further spread of the disease,” Catholic Bishops in Zambia have said. 

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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.

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