… As he donates K18, 000 towards the feeding programme for Zam Jesuit COVID-19 response

By Scoop Reporter

WE will walk hand-in-hand with our frontline health workers by offering them all the support to the very end because of the vital role they are playing in the fight against Corona Virus Disease (COvid-19) pandemic, former Finance Minister Felix Mutati has said.

And Zam Jesuit COVID-19 response coordinator Father Kelly Michelo says the fight against the pandemic requires concerted effort from all Zambians and must not be left to Government alone.

Speaking at when he donated K18, 000 towards the Zam Jesuit COVID-19 response feeding programme and participated in preparing food for frontline staff and patients in quarantine in Lusaka on Wednesday, Mr. Mutati said he felt duty-bound to contribute to the initiative because he appreciated the devastating effects of the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis globally but also in Zambia. It has devastating effects on livelihoods and also on the economy like Zambia which is not strong enough. We just want to send a clear message to the frontline staff and the patients that on this journey, they are not alone.

“On this journey, we are going to hold hands with them and give them support and it will be in three ways. The physical part, like we have come here to cook food which is important, making contributions to these efforts, and continue to offer our prayers,” Mr. Mutati said.

He has called on the country to unite in prayer for the frontline workers and patients saying the pandemic can only be won through the intervention of God.

“For me, it is important that I hold hands with the Jesuits and with the St. Ignitious community that in a small way, both at the physical level where we came to cook, and at the contribution level which we have done today, we must help.

“Today, we are cooking for about 250 both frontline and patients in three key centres and today’s cost of the food is approximately K18, 000. I have delivered that to ensure that the food is prepared and delivered to them and we will continue with additional contributions,” he said.

And Father Michelo says the church has decided to respond to the pandemic practically.

“We have our men and women who are front-liners who are sacrificing their lives every day. These need our support. We are providing support to the disaster through food support and also prevention in communities. We also try to offer pastoral and psychosocial support to our front-liners.

“Some of them are afraid. We have heard doctors being told to conduct postmortem and without proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), they fear for themselves and their families and that is where we come in offering psycho-socio support and pastoral care so that their mind is calm,” Father Michelo said.

He says the church was also conducting emergency education where it was talking about awareness to diffuse rampant ignorance surrounding this pandemic.

“We find that some patients who are being discharged are still being stigmatized. The community is afraid of them because they think they can also catch the disease and so, we need awareness and accompaniment to those who are recovering,” he said.

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