Central African Republic

“Don’t abandon Africa” – Father Gaetán Kabasha’s dramatic appeal on the Covid-19 epidemic

Letter Father Gaetán Kabasha to the world and Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)

 Original Portuguese, ACN Portugal
to English, Felipe Bezerra, ACN Canada and adapted by ACN Canada
Published on the web March 27,2020

“Do not abandon Africa, remain very attentive and when the complicated situation arrives in these countries, be willing to reach out to help,” asks Father Gaetán Kabasha of all people in the face of the dramatic evolution that Covid 19 may take on this continent of more than a billion souls.

The priest sent a video message to the ACN office in Lisbon, Portugal,  appealing for everyone’s solidarity with the victims of this pandemic. – A native of Rwanda and ordained a priest in the Central African Republic and currently living in Madrid where, as a chaplain at the San Carlos Hospital, Father Gaetán is dealing daily with patients infected with Covid19  “It is very complicated, there are a lot of patients and a lot of stress.”

“If the pandemic cannot be controlled in countries with many economic and health means, I don’t know how it can be controlled if it reaches Africa.”

This experience also allows him to draw a comparison with what may happen in the short term in Africa. He doesn’t hide his concern. “As an African, I am also very concerned about our countries, because if the pandemic cannot be controlled in countries with many economic and health means, I don’t know how it can be controlled if it reaches Africa.”

With the figures being updated almost every hour, it is difficult to understand the scale of this pandemic in Africa, with more than a thousand confirmed cases in about forty countries. But this data can be illusory, Father Gaetán underlines in his message sent to ACN.

“It is true that there are very few cases and that we can still control them, but as we saw here in Europe, everything starts with a case and little by little it grows, multiplying until it gets out of control,” says the chaplain of the Madrid hospital. “It is important for African countries to take action before the situation is too difficult, because really this virus that is transmitted in an incredible way can cause a catastrophe in African countries. I think of the suburbs of big capitals or cities in Africa … ”



A continent in danger

Father Gaetán, who was in Portugal last November invited by ACN in Portugal, knows like few what suffering, persecution and life means in refugee camps.

The knowledge of this reality leads him to look now at the African continent to conclude that the fight against the coronavirus can be extremely difficult. And he explains why: “Because it is said that people have to isolate themselves and [in Africa] there are people who have nowhere to isolate themselves. There are thousands of people who live on the street, who live day to day and who get something to eat because they go out on the street. If the authorities decide to isolate themselves, these thousands of people will not know where to isolate themselves and, if they find somewhere, they will not be able to survive.”

In the face of this frightening reality, there is hope that scientists will be able to find the solution to the pandemic before it hits the African continent. “We are praying a lot that this situation that I am seeing in Spain, that is happening in Italy and that can happen in other European countries, does not reach Africa before the remedy is discovered,”says Father Gaetán Kabasha.

All around the world, the members of the Catholic Church are actively comforting people most touched by this pandemic.  In many countries Sisters are nurses, they manage the dispensaries, the homes for the elderly and other health related institutions.  Helping them through this crisis means supporting the presence of the Church for the weakest members of society. Aid to the Church in Need around the world will continue to support the Church in every way possible.

Thank you for continuing your support, in any way you find possible.

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