Since March 2020, most of the world has been facing the Covid-19 pandemic. Some countries have been badly hit, such as the USA with over a million deaths, and some countries are reporting very few numbers. For example, the Republic of Benin has reported only 27,000 cases with 163 deaths.
How reliable are the statistics? As in most situations in life, it depends on the ability to record and generate the data. Many of our African countries do not have the infrastructure of health services and medical referrals to produce accurate figures. So, this small synopsis will not even try to guess what is happening.
One thing is obvious looking at data on vaccinations. Of the five countries in East Africa where MMM live, Uganda seems to have had the highest number of cases. Since 2020 to May 6th 2022 there have been 164,118 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 3,597 related deaths, reported by World Health Organization
(WHO). As of 30th April 2022, a total of 20,899,440 vaccine doses have been administered and 10,250,742 people fully vaccinated which is approximately 23.6% of the population. Other countries have lower rates, often less than 10%.
Latin America is doing better, but has also been badly hit by the diseases. The Sisters in Brazil personally know people who have died. Brazil has reported 665,00 deaths but has managed to vaccinate 77% of the population. In Salvador, the Sisters report that the consequences of the pandemic have been devastating. Where they live, an area of poverty, has seen an increase in social inequality, consequently resulting in unemployment, hunger, and violence. Their response has been one of practical help and emotional and spiritual support.
What are the Sisters on the ground telling us? They are still very cautious, realizing that the pandemic is not over yet. The Sisters in Angola had Covid 19 amongst themselves as well as trying to treat those in the local community. As Sr. Beatrice says: “Although it was a trying period, we cared for each other until everyone became healthy. And even though the public use of facemask is no longer enforced, we make it a priority not to relent until the virus is totally eliminated. In this way, we try to stay safe and keep others safe too. “
In every country the Sisters are encouraging the population to get vaccinated and teaching good hygiene practices to slow the rate of infection. Everything the developed world can do to supply vaccines to the developing world we must encourage.
Covid -19 has certainly made life more challenging for our MMM Sisters. We are certainly open to being challenged and count on all our supporters and benefactors to rally around us as your support is more needed than ever.