Lusaka — The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has set up a COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF). The fund will mainly be used to prevent the spread of the disease in Zambia and give support to health facilities to respond to the pandemic.
"This fund will supplement the efforts government has put into place. We therefore urge our Catholic faithful and other people of good will, to heed this call and contribute generously towards this Fund," said Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze who spoke on behalf of the ZCCB.
Bishop Hamungole specified that the fund will be used to support Church programs that not only deal with the sick, but also with the elderly, people with mental and physical disabilities, orphans and the poor in general.
In 2019, Zambia was hit by drought and further in 2020 flooding has affected crops. Therefore coronavirus pandemic comes at a time when food levels in many households in the country are still low.
"The question is; how will people survive now that COVID-19 is already beginning to stretch their ability to recover from these natural calamities? Whereas in the past, we could have cried out for help from the international community, this time, we are on our own because everyone is fighting the pandemic and using their resources to save their citizens. Then, who will help us?" he posed.
The bishops believe that through sharing of resources, Zambians can mitigate the suffering of the poor and the vulnerable in the society.
"Those who have more can help those who have less. This way, we will contribute towards resources needed to save many of our people from being infected with the virus, from passing it to others, and from dying with the disease. Indeed, we need to ensure that there is provision of timely health care to those who are sick of whatever disease, including COVID-19," he said.
"In order to defeat the pandemic, we must all do our part to protect ourselves and others from being infected with COVID-19. The coronavirus situation has come at a time when Zambia has been struggling on many fronts to improve the livelihood of the people, especially the poor and vulnerable," Bishop Hamungole added.
The Catholic Church in Zambia manages 59 health facilities located in all 10 provinces. Of these, 22 are hospitals and 37 are rural health centers which the bishops said they need to be prepared to offer essential front line services to some of our people who may contract the disease.