Philippe Lolonga, Harper Hill Global Correspondent, Kivu DRCongo April 6th 2020 / Bukavu, DRCongo
On March 3, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the end of Ebola after 18 months of suffering. Just one week later, COVID-19 appeared, and since then five provinces have been affected: the provincial city of Kinshasa, Ituri, South Kivu, North Kivu and Kwilu.
As of April 5th, there were 161 cases, with eighteen known deaths. Five people had been declared cured of the coronavirus. according to the Risposte Team Against COVID-19 put in place by the President of the DRC, His Excellency Felix Tshisekedi and led by Professor Dr. Jean Jacques Muyembe.
Bishop Unda says he is overwhelmed because the District of Beni, which was the epicenter of Ebola, has now been hit by COVID-19. Bishop Unda says: “It is time that, together, we fight this disease.”
Communicators are sharing awareness messages and listening to local response. As people hear about prevention methods, they ask for assistance with items needed to comply, including household hand-washing kits and masks to cover the nose and mouth, according to Jolie Shabani.
Bibishe Mbilize, President of United Methodist Women in Bukavu, says she is ready to sensitize other women by all means possible. “I appeal to other women around the world to help Congolese women prevent COVID-19, which is now spreading in several cities of the DRC.” Bibishe adds, “Learning from the Ebola epidemic which affected the population of eastern DRC, household hand-washing kits, disinfectants, and masks could prevent this illness in many communities.”
Amunazo Kingombe, wife of the pastor of the Ibanda local church in Bukavu asks that others help with food, because people cannot leave homes to work and life is getting very difficult because of that unemployment.
Rev Marie Dundja Kalakala, pastor of the Kadutu United Methodist Church in Bukavu, asks humanitarians to help women in this difficult period. “If corona does not kill us, we risk dying with hunger.”
Dr. Blandine Tshoso who is women’s leader in the United Methodist Church in the East Congo living in Kindu asks people of goodwill to create radio programs to spread awareness messages for the prevention of COVID-19
Blandine says: “With the experience I have on the subject, I am ready to host programs on awareness raising on the prevention of COVID-19 which constitutes an overwhelming danger for the community.”
Bishop Gabriel Unda raises a cry of alarm for anyone willing to help the eastern episcopal area to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease which has just touched two annual conferences in its episcopal area with more than 600,000 faithful.
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