SOCIETY OF JESUS – ZAM JESUITS COVID-19
The Society of Jesus launched the ZAM Jesuits COVID-19 Response for Zambia and Malawi Province on 4th of May 2020. The response was to solicit for resources that includes both material and cash to support in the following interventions:
1. Pastoral Care and Psychosocial Counselling
2. Disaster response
4. Social analysis and publicity
To date, as a result of this initiative by the Jesuits, is meant to alleviate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, 2,043 health frontliners have been provided with hot meals and counselling services at Covid-19 Isolation Centres.
Other beneficiaries of this initiative include: Canisius Secondary School, Chikuni Girls, Charles Lwanga College of Education and St Dominics Major Seminary that have been all supported with various preventive equipment. The total amount spent on the interventions mentioned so far, is ZMW249,680.00.
Currently, the team is working with the poor and vulnerable families in Matero, Ngombe, Chilenje, Chainda, Ngwerere and Chelstone residential areas where 1,000 Households in this first phase have each been supported with food hampers containing 25Kg bag of Mealie Meal, 2.5 Litres of Cooking Oil, 2Kgs of Sugar, 1Kg of Salt and 3Kgs of Soya chunks all costing to a total amount of ZMW355,000.00.
On Wednesday 1st July 2020 the Provincial of the Jesuits in Zambia and Malawi, Fr. Leonard Chiti SJ, will officiate the distribution of food hampers to the poor and vulnerable in Ngombe Township.
Students in Examination Classes have been allowed to return to school whilst adhering to the one of the heath guidelines of having Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) like masks which is now mandatory. However, students who come from a poor background cannot afford to buy reusable mask at a cost of K10 each.
In view of the above, ZAM Jesuit C-19 Task Force distributed disposable face masks, face shields, gloves, and sanitizers to Canisius Secondary School and Chikuni Girls Secondary which had been received as donations from Maxlin Enterprises and Creative innovations. A total of 66 students at Canisius secondary school all received two reusable masks each. All teachers were given one transparent face shield to use. One teacher upon receiving a face shield commented, "at least now with transparent face shield, I can breathe and not have a headache at the end of the day." Apparently, a number of teachers developed headaches after teaching in a mask the whole day.
At Chikuni Girls Secondary, all the students in Grade 9 &12 together with their teachers received a mask each. A total of 10 transparent face shields were given to the teachers out of a compliment of 26. This entails that 16 teachers are still using face masks when teaching.
The masks donated to Canisius and Chikuni Girls Schools through the ZAM Jesuit C-19 team have proved to be a great help to vulnerable children who would not have been allowed to attend classes for failure of wearing face masks. We thank our donors for the continued support rendered. It is uunfortunate that during the COVID-19 the vulnerable become even more vulnerable.
The ZAM Jesuits C-19 Task Force Team was infomed that all local students were asked to be in boarding when the schools opened. This initiative was to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. However, this comes with cost implications to the school because it was an emergency measure not planned and budgeted for. The costs associated to having the day scholars stay in boarding amounts to a total of ZMW75, 900.00 because there are 66 students with boarding costs of each amounting to ZMW1, 150.00.
We are therefore asking any well-wishers to come on board and support this noble cause through the ZAM Jesuits C-19 Task Force. No support is little,Together we can change lives.
Despite the closure of the University of Zambia during to COVID -19 the ministry of the UNZA Catholic Chaplaincy continues virtually. Here is a letter from the UNZA Chaplain that went out on WhatsApp to a good cross section of the Catholic students:-
The earliest laboratory-confirmed case of what has developed into the COVID-19 pandemic was in an elderly man in Wuhan city, central China, whose symptoms began on 1st December 2019. Today (20th April), less than five months later, the world has experienced more than 160,000 deaths from the disease and is home to almost 2.5 million confirmed cases in more than 185 countries. it.
Pope Francis: “Build the future together or there will be no future.”-By Gerard O’Connell, America Magazine Feb 4th 2019 with reporting from AP
These excellent words about Peace from Pope Francis, spoken last year have even more meaning now in June 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd RIP on Monday 25th May in Minneapolis, USA and the subsequent outpouring of anger against police violence.
Truth be told, although Zambia has an estimated population size of 17.5 million, the country hasn’t got 17.5 million problems, on the contrary, the nation has 17.5 million solutions to its socioeconomic challenges. The object of this article is to lend a theological reflection on the reshaping of Zambia's future in the evolving New World, which has been wrought upon us by the global pandemic of COVID-19.
The United Nations has reminded us that a pandemic amplifies and heightens all inequalities. The circumstances of the current COVID-19 pandemic bear it out that this is very true of gender-based inequalities. This article examines the most outstanding of these male-female differences and in particular the unbalanced way the pandemic increases the burdens placed on women and adds new ones. It looks first at some of the biological considerations that could account for more pandemic-related deaths among men than women.
The Response begins…
It has almost been a month since Fr. Leonard Chiti, SJ, Provincial of Zambia and Malawi launched the ZAM Jesuits C-19 Appeal. As a response, a number of activities are already being done by Jesuits and their collaborators. For example, the feeding of frontline health workers with a hot meal at Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital, University Teaching Hospital and Courtyard hotel. The logistical preparation of food hampers and masks to be distributed to the poor and vulnerable is underway and almost complete. With 15 volunteer counsellors already identified, permission granted, pastoral Care and psychosocial Counselling will be available for the frontline doctors and nurses who have been overwhelmed with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients.
1. Ms Mubanga Musakanya (Team leader)
2. Ms Brenda Bwalya
3. Ms Musonda Musankanya
4. Mr Kelvin Mwitha
5. Ms Kwitaka Maluzi
On 18th March 2020, Zambia announced her first Coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) cases. One could say that it was only a matter of time before Zambia would be hit by the pandemic which originated in Whuhan, China in December 2019. The disease has spread like a wildfire throughout the globe since its first occurrence, with 5.8 million confirmed cases worldwide and Africa accounting for 1.5% of these cases and Zambia currently having recorded 1057 cases as of 27th May 2020.
The Jesuits of Zambia-Malawi Province, seeing the imminent threat of COVID-19 to people of Zambia stepped to the plate and launched a response that would alleviate the economical, mental and health needs of the front liners combating the disease and the vulnerable of the community. The response was launched on 4th May 2020 and has been picking up speed since its release.
The Jesuits alongside their collaborators, have conducted various needs assessments of selected communities in Lusaka district. These assessments were done through respective Parishes in areas that had been marked as high risk. After consultations with Parish Priests and home-based care (HBC) committees a list of items was compiled that would benefit the recipients of our response.
Being true to a well-known Ignatian phrase, to love and to serve, this response has been a spread of hope and a source of stress release for our front liners that have been graced with a hot meal and a kind word during their time in the battlefield.
The objectives of this subcommittee in the COVID-19 response include:
1. Liaising with respective heads of unit at Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching hospital (LMUTH), University teaching hospital (UTH) and Courtyard hotel COVID-19 quarantine centres.
2. Overseeing the preparation and serving meals to the front liners at the above-mentioned quarantine centres.
3. Assessing the needs of vulnerable communities through Catholic Parishes and HBC committees.
4. Overseeing the preparation and distribution relief hampers to vulnerable families in high risk areas.
1. Feeding of front liners
The feeding of front liners commenced on 29th April 2020, at the respective quarantine centres (Courtyard hotel, LMUTH and UTH) and 230 health workers were fed. The health workers have been provided with meals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The meals constituted of nshima (Zambia’s staple food) or rice, chicken/beef and vegetables plus a bottle of water.
A regulated number of people are involved in the preparing and distribution of food to avoid over-crowding and reducing the risk of exposure and transmission amongst the caters, volunteers and health workers. All necessary protective attire is worn i.e. face masks, gloves, aprons and hair nets, during the packing of food.
The table below gives a summary of subsequent distribution of meals.
2. Food hampers for the vulnerable families
The subcommittee has successfully assessed the following communities through the respective Parishes:
• Roma Parish
• Matero Parish
• Chelston Parish
• Bauleni Parish
Three hundred (300) relief hampers as well as 1000 face masked will be distributed in the respective communities. This activity is yet to commence as plans are underway in sourcing the funds to procure the items that will constitute the hampers. So far, the subcommittee has finalized on the following items to be included in the hampers:
o 25kg Mealie meal
o 750ml Cooking oil
o Detergent paste
o Soya chunks
o High protein supplement/porridge
o Bathing soap
The table below shows the expected budget for each community
The feeding of the health workers has been running smoothly, however, it has not been regular due to the trickling in of monetary donations from well-wishers. Meals are provided as and when funds allow. We hope to have a steady flow of funds so that the activity may run more regularly and stick to the weekly schedule.
The distribution of hampers should hopefully begin next month once the hamper logistics have been finalized. Concerns surrounding this activity will be the precautionary measures that will need to be followed amongst the volunteers that will be recruited to distribute the hampers in the communities.