KARONGA DIOCESE

Covid-19 Preparedness and Response: Action Taken by Diocese of Karonga to Date

Covid-19 Preparedness and Response: Action Taken by Diocese of Karonga to Date
Oxygen Concentrators

Introduction

Coronavirus disease, pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China, was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 31st December, 2019. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January, 2020.

On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID – 19; and declared it a pandemic on 11 March, 2020. As of 5 May, 2020, the world has registered 3,659,103 positive cases and 252,573 deaths. As of the same date, Malawi had recorded 41 confirmed cases and 3 deaths; with one case recorded in Karonga.

The Diocese of Karonga has taken a number of steps in Covid-19 preparedness and response. This therefore presents the actions taken by the Diocese of Karonga and progress made in the same.

Establishment of Advisory Committee to the Bishop on COVID-19 (ACB)

On 23rd March, 2020, Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka presided over extra-ordinary meeting on coronavirus involving Curia staff members, Lusubilo Community Care staff and Tuntufye Radio representative. As there were variations in the level of preparedness and response, need for coordinated efforts at Diocese level was felt. To this effect, the Bishop established Advisory Committee to the Bishop on Covid-19. The Committee is chaired by the Caritas Secretary, Mwawi Shaba, and it comprises of selected members of Curia staff, representatives of Diocesan health facilities, Lusubilo Community Care and Tuntufye FM Radio.

The aim of the ACB is to strengthen the protection of people within the Diocese of Karonga from COVID-19 and provide treatment and care for those suffering from the disease.

Bishop Mtumbuka with members of the ACB and some Curia staff after a meeting on COVID-19
Bishop Mtumbuka with members of the ACB and some Curia staff after a meeting on COVID-19

Procured and installed life-saving Oxygen Concentrators and power generators in all its 5 health facilities

The Diocese of Karonga has so far procured and installed 12 oxygen concentrators and 5 generators in all five health facilities of the Diocese, namely; Atupere Community Hospital, Hope Clinic, Kaseye Health Centre, St Anne’s Community Hospital and St Clara Clinic.

Oxygen Concentrators
Oxygen Concentrators
Power-generators-being-checked-before-dispatching-them-to-health-facilities
Power-generators-being-checked-before-dispatching-them-to-health-facilities

Refurbishing and Customizing an Ambulance  

The Diocese if in the process of refurbishing and customizing an ambulance to the level of an Intensive Care Unit for ferrying critical patients to Mzuzu Central Hospital from areas under the Diocese of Karonga.

Refurbishing ambulance in progress
Refurbishing ambulance in progress

Setting up an Ambulance Rapid Response Team

A specialised team comprised of 10 medical, nursing personnel  and drivers to be stationed at the headquarters to provide emergency response when the pandemic becomes acute in the Diocese. Members are drawn from the 5 health facilities of the Diocese. These will be supported by the government district hospitals.

Conducting training to all staff in all the 5 heath facilities

Workers in Diocesan health facilities have been trained about COVID-19, preventive measures, contact tracing and operation of treatment equipment.

Training session for health facility staff members
Training session for health facility staff members

Procure and deliver PPE to all workers of the Diocese including in all the 5 health facilities

PPEs delivered to 5 health facilities
PPEs delivered to 5 health facilities

Carrying awareness to staff, priest and local Church leaders

Awareness meeting with priests
Awareness meeting with priests
A meeting on ECM Directives with Deans and Members of ACB
Training of personnel at Chipunga Farm on COVID-19 and prevention
Training of personnel at Chipunga Farm on COVID-19 and prevention
Demonstration on proper hand washing
Demonstration on proper hand washing

Training of Pastoral Council members from 12 parishes in the Diocese

Training of Pastoral Council members from 12 parishes in the Diocese on Covid-19
Training of Pastoral Council members from 12 parishes in the Diocese on Covid-19
Bishop Mtumbuka with members of Diocesan Laity Council after the meeting at Kaseye
Bishop Mtumbuka with members of Diocesan Laity Council after the meeting at Kaseye

Promoting prevention measures in all Diocese establishments including offices and prayer centres and promoting the same in families

Faithful wash hands before & after Sunday Liturgy at Chibanji Prayer Centre
Faithful wash hands before & after Sunday Liturgy at Chibanji Prayer Centre

Figure 3: Faithful wash hands before & after Sunday Liturgy at Chibanji Prayer Centre before suspension of public liturgical celebrations

Curia staff at Bwiba practice social distancing during weekly update meetings that include reminders on Covid-19 preventive measures
Curia staff at Bwiba practice social distancing during weekly update meetings that include reminders on Covid-19 preventive measures

Broadcasting radio programme and messages

The Diocesan Radio, Tuntufye FM, broadcasts countless programmes and messages on COVID-19 reaching out to over 1 million people in the north of Malawi

Developing and disseminating posters on COVID-19

A total of 145300 posters have been produced and distributed in the Diocese of Karonga

Financial Support

  • Archdiocese of Munich
  • The Mathile Foundation
  • Manus Unidas
  • Catholic Cross
  • Major James Nyirenda
  • Archdiocese of Padarborn

Activities the Diocese wants to do next

  • Raising mass awareness regarding COVID-19 especially in rural communities.
  • Support communities and various public places with personal hygiene facilities; e.g. masks, gloves and hand washing facilities.
  • Economically support vulnerable families affected by the COVID-19.
  • Continue supporting health facilities in the treatment of COVID-19 cases including supplying PPE.

Contacts

For more information about these and for those who would want to help please contact the ACB leadership as follows:

Mwawi Shaba – Chairperson Email: mshaba@karongadiocese.org

Web: www.karongadiocese.org

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