Fighting COVID-19 and Providing Relief in Africa

June 9, 2020 • Africa

Samaritan's Purse staff members across seven countries in Africa continue serving people in the midst of a global health crisis.

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Samaritan’s Purse teams based in our seven country offices across Africa continue to help alleviate suffering during the COVID-19 global pandemic, finding critical ways to support men, women, and children during this uncertain time.

  • Pastors in Liberia and in many African countries where we work are integral to preparing communities for COVID-19.
    Pastors in Liberia and in many African countries where we work are crucial to preparing communities for COVID-19.

Our teams are working hard to help train medical professionals and equip healthcare centers, to create awareness programs for communities, and to provide access to clean water and sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

Airlifting Aid to South Sudan

Samaritan’s Purse is airlifting supplies and equipment, as well as trained medical professionals, from Kenya to Maban County Hospital in northeast South Sudan. These airlifts by our DC-3 plane provide the hospital with oxygen concentrators, beds, and medications, among other critical items.

We used our DC-3 aircraft to carry relief supplies as well as medical equipment and personnel to South Sudan.

We used our DC-3 aircraft to carry relief supplies as well as medical equipment and personnel to South Sudan.

In addition, we’re conducting awareness campaigns and training key people in local communities, including church leaders, health homecare providers, and local community leaders.

John Toulong, a community leader, says he’s grateful someone taught him and other leaders the basics of COVID-19 prevention.

“We learned the causes, signs and symptoms of the virus, and the importance of avoiding crowded places, such as social gatherings,” Toulong said. “I want my whole community to hear this.”

Delivering Life-saving Information and Supplies

The first cases of novel coronavirus in Kenya appeared in Kilifi region. We have responded by providing protective gear, handwashing stations, and disinfectants to that area’s vastly under-resourced medical centers and surrounding communities. Additionally, aggressive information campaigns are underway nationwide through our network of pastors and others.

In Kenya we are providing medical centers with personal protective equipment (PPE).

In Kenya we are providing medical centers with personal protective equipment (PPE).

This outreach has allowed our staff the privilege of encouraging key church leaders and also empowering them to protect their congregations and communities with life-saving information.

“I am thankful to Samaritan’s Purse for remembering us,” said Pastor Moses. “I am now able to reach out to my congregation through phone messaging, and the church members are now better informed. Now there’s not as much anxiety as before.”

We’re spearheading similar outreaches in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, too. Sadly, both of the nations are no stranger to the spread of deadly disease, having experienced terrifying outbreaks of Ebola over the past decade.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, our existing network of healthcare workers, community health evangelists, local leaders, and pastors has disseminated prevention information and training. Liberia staff are uniquely positioned to conduct public awareness campaigns, mostly working through contacts from ongoing projects and the invaluable connections we have with local pastors and other religious leaders. They’ve also been asked to assist Liberia’s National Research Lab by gathering COVID-19 samples from outlying areas and delivering them to the capital Monrovia to update case statistics.

Samaritan's Purse met with pastors and other leaders in Liberia who are helping communities prepare for potential outbreaks of COVID-19.

Samaritan’s Purse met with pastors and other leaders in Liberia who are helping communities prepare for potential outbreaks of COVID-19.

“God has positioned Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia to respond to COVID-19 using what we learned during Ebola,” said Joni Byker, country director for Samaritan’s Purse Liberia. “Our partnerships with the government and with a network of church and other religious leaders have enabled us to respond in a short amount of time, providing essential COVID-19 trainings and supplies for an already fragile health care system. We have seen how God truly does prepare and provide us with what we need for when we need it.”

In Ethiopia we are providing clean water, hand washing stations, and protective gear to communities, hospitals, and even police officers.

In Ethiopia we are providing clean water, handwashing stations, and protective gear to communities, hospitals, and even police officers.

In Ethiopia, a field office we opened a little over a year ago, we are providing supplies, equipment, and training in local communities. This has included giving face masks, cleaning supplies, and touchless handwashing stations to local police districts and several medical centers in the capital city Addis Ababa. We’ve also conducted house-to-house training in outlying areas and supplied cleaning supplies, gloves, and masks to community health workers, women’s groups, and medical center staff.

“We’re looking for ways to serve our communities and provide for whatever needs we can, and we’re grateful we have the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to our neighbors by helping to limit the spread of this deadly disease,” said Melody Moshkowski, country director for Samaritan’s Purse Ethiopia. “It has been a blessing to us, and we hope, to others.”

Ongoing Work Amid COVID-19

Our normal programming continues in some communities where access to food and other urgent relief is a matter of life and death.

Our teams have set up hand washing stations in Niger's Diffa Region provide protection against the spread of disease during food distributions.

Our teams have set up handwashing stations in Niger’s Diffa Region to provide protection against the spread of disease during food distributions.

As the rest of Niger continues in lockdown, Samaritan’s Purse teams on the ground near Diffa continue to distribute food in the Lake Chad Basin area of the country.

Precautions such as handwashing stations and individual distributions (rather than group) are helping to maintain social distancing. Higher quantities of rations are also being provided to cut down on the frequency of distributions.

Of unique concern among any population are those individuals who have had heart procedures or other cardiac concerns. In Uganda, our country office is making a special effort to reach out to the beneficiaries of our Children’s Heart Project, ensuring these children and their families have the vital information they need to reduce the risk of infection.

Please continue to pray for our staff and the countries they serve throughout Africa during this worldwide health crisis.

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Emergency Medicine Your gift will enable Samaritan’s Purse to provide life-saving medical care (including doctors, nurses, respirators, and other essential equipment) in places where vulnerable communities are suffering in the wake of disaster or from outbreaks of infectious diseases like COVID-19. We also offer public health outreaches to prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses. Most importantly, we are able to bring the Gospel message of eternal hope to those who are suffering and afraid.

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