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.
Society of Jesus Zambia - Malawi Province , P.O. Box UNZA 46, Great East Road, Lusaka, Zambia.
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