April 8, 2020: COVID-19 Update in DR Congo

04/08/2020

Current Cases and Actions

On March 24, 2020, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared a State of Emergency and issued a travel ban between provinces as at the time Kinshasa (the capital) had confirmed 48 cases. As of April 8, DR Congo has 180 known cases and 18 deaths. The government issued a mandatory self-quarantine of 14 days if just arrived in the country; the country is also under a shelter-in-place order until mid-April. Groups are limited to 20 people or less and all events such as church gatherings, sporting, parties, concerts, conferences, funerals, schools, and universities are canceled or closed.

No Cases in CEUM Region

Currently there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the provinces where the CEUM resides: North Ubangi, South Ubangi, and Mongala. The fact that the CEUM is in a more remote, rural area of the country is to its advantage at this point, especially with travel restrictions between provinces. However, with these restrictions comes a slowing of the economy which could tip an already perilous economic condition into a downfall. There is also still a significant lack of clean water for hand-washing; due to lack of resources, PPE (personal protective equipment) is often used multiple times; other basics such as soap and disinfectants are not widely available and prices on these materials are already rising. Imposing social distancing is difficult in a context where many people live together in small houses and many people rely on daily wages to feed their families. All of these challenges in DR Congo remind us of the opportunity we have to support and be in prayer for our partners!

PCP is communicating regularly with the CEUM Medical team regarding their response to COVID-19 before cases reach the region. Currently, their goals are to raise awareness and educate people in all villages and communities through the following activities:  

  • Medical teams are preparing radio presentations for people in Karawa to be aware how to protect themselves (hand washing, social distancing) and know the symptoms of COVID-19.  
  • PCP is sending a grant of $5,000 to assist the CEUM Medical Staff in their preparations for the potential presence of COVID-19 in their hospitals and clinics. Click here to give toward this effort.
  • In Karawa, if patients exhibit coronavirus-like symptoms, the ISTM dorm will be used to isolate these patients from others in Karawa Hospital.
  • New PPE is limited, currently the standard procedure is to clean and reuse such items for healthcare workers.
  • Tests for COVID-19 are not available, and all questionable lab samples must be sent to Kinshasa.

Other projects continue, though adhering to COVID-19 guidelines:

Prayer requests:   

  • Pray for COVID-19 to stay out of North and South Ubangi, and Mongala regions. 
  • Pray for the CEUM church leaders as they model and lead the way in best practices to avoid COVID-19.  
  • Pray for CEUM churches, as these communities of Christ followers encourage each other and reach out to others during this country-wide crisis. 
  • Pray for Covenant Church of Congo leaders to seek the Holy Spirit for guidance on new dates for the General Assembly to meet again in order to elect a new Covenant Church of Congo president. 
  • Protection from the virus among the poor and those who must daily find work in order to feed their families.
  • Safety and protection for the health care workers who first encounter COVID-19 cases in their area. 

Posted in Congo health, COVID-19, PCP Update.

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