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.
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.
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.
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.
Procure and deliver PPE to all workers of the Diocese including in all the 5 health facilities
Carrying awareness to staff, priest and local Church leaders
Training of Pastoral Council members from 12 parishes in the Diocese
Promoting prevention measures in all Diocese establishments including offices and prayer centres and promoting the same in families
Figure 3: Faithful wash hands before & after Sunday Liturgy at Chibanji Prayer Centre before suspension of public liturgical celebrations
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
- 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.
For more information about these and for those who would want to help please contact the ACB leadership as follows:
Mwawi Shaba – Chairperson Email: email@example.com