Coronavirus update: March 2020
Our ministry turned our full attention to COVID-19 in February, when the first sub-Saharan case hit Nigeria. Additionally, multiple academic studies were released in February highlighting the unique risks that would be present in Africa, as well as the best strategies for mitigating the risks in health facilities.
We have nearly 400 workers spread out over our facilities in Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania, and we are dedicated to their safety. We mobilized supplies from board members and a supporting church in Searcy, Arkansas, and sent requested supplies (including hand sanitizer and N95 masks) by air freight to Nigeria. Also, we sent additional funds for necessary supplies and equipment that could be purchased locally (gowns, goggles, infrared thermometers, etc.). Finally, we funded small construction projects (adding hand-washing stations outside of our facilities, and repurposing spaces to be isolation units).
This unique moment in time also presents us with a greater opportunity to serve our communities. Before gatherings were outlawed, we hosted seminars for church leaders, teaching principles of hygiene and precautions for visiting the sick. Tom Carr (Director Emeritus) has been focused on ensuring that chaplains have needed supplies for the expected increase of patients, especially sufficient bibles in the various languages that are common in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ghana.
We are hearing reports from our locations of great fear and panic in the community. The virus is spreading rapidly in each country in which we work. Not only are people afraid for their health, but the economies are rapidly being shut down, as lockdown measures are taking grip. However, as our hospitals and clinics are obviously essential services, we are facing no barriers to communicate the hope of Christ to the thousands of patients that visit our facilities each month.
Deuteronomy 31 reminds us of how to face our fears:
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Our health workers and chaplains are embodying this scripture as they continue to minister, beautifully, in this unprecedented time.
Thank you for your prayers; we beg you to continue to pray for all those in Africa facing this great pandemic, especially those working at our facilities. And thank you for your financial support. Because of this support, we were able to meet the requests of our partners as they seek to respond to the challenge ahead.