Fr. Aris Miranda, MI
The CADIS COVID 19 Emergency Intervention phase 1 program is primarily designed to deliver relief to the most vulnerable population and immediate assistance to the Camillian healthcare facilities in the developing countries of Africa, America, and Asia. Moreover, it also aimed to get first-hand information on the real situation, the available resources (human and material) and capacities of the local communities affected, and how to rebuild and strengthen vulnerable communities’ resilience (second phase ). Thus, phase 1 served as an entry point to CADIS’s main thrust, i.e., to deliver a community-based and participatory response to the complex impact of the COVID 19 pandemic to vulnerable communities. It offered a learning space for a more in-depth analysis of the pandemic’s impact while finding ways to confront the issue with a rights-based and integral approach.
SEE: The emergency relief response
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID 19 as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). This would allow the WHO to coordinate the global response better and hold nations accountable if they ignore the organization’s standards pertaining to travel, trade, quarantine, and screening. At this time, COVID 19 cases have reached 7818 total confirmed cases worldwide, with most of these in China and 82 cases reported in 18 countries outside China. A month later, on March 11, a pandemic was declared to the over 118.000 cases of the coronavirus illness in over 110 countries and territories worldwide, with more than 4300 deaths attributed to the disease to Johns Hopkins University. (cf. JH Coronavirus Resource Center)
By the time that CADIS began its daily monitoring of COVID cases in the 37 mission countries of the Camillians in April 2020, there were already 1.403.367 confirmed cases, 97.874 deaths, and 306.914 recovered (21% rate of recovery). In September, confirmed cases reached 25.604.771, deaths at 777.194, and recovered 18.949.023. Though confirmed cases are increasing, the rate of recovery is tremendously rising to 74%. Thanks to the global scientific and political efforts, which led to new strategies in fighting the coronavirus infection. Learning from the past pandemics lessons, the quarantine measure has helped in flattening the curve of the spread and infection of coronavirus. However, it has some adverse collateral damages to the personal and social life of the people. This has been noticed in the recent research on the impact of quarantine measures published in The Lancet. “Separation from loved ones, the loss of freedom, uncertainty over disease status, and boredom can, on occasion, create dramatic effects. Suicide has been reported, substantial anger generated, and lawsuits brought following the imposition of quarantine in previous outbreaks.” (Lancet 2020; 395: 912-20, 26 Feb. 2020). This finding was based on a scientific literature review done by the Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, and published in one of the prestigious medical journals – The Lancet.
While preparing for emergency relief intervention, CADIS collaborated with some members of the Camillian Charismatic Family (CCF) and other non-Camillian partners and organized an online multi-lingual psychosocial and spiritual support to persons affected by the pandemic. It was realized through an online platform initiated by the Catholic Health Association of India called the Corona Care (https://coronacare.life/). WHO’s Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) convened a meeting of Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) like CADIS and faith leaders of major world religions to formulate guidelines on FBOs’ engagement to proper and accurate delivery of messages regarding the pandemic. This multi stakeholder’s approach to establishing psychosocial and spiritual support is highly effective in mitigating the onset of serious mental health issues among those affected by the pandemic. Considering this pandemic’s complexity, a multidisciplinary, culture-sensitive, and rights-based approach needs to be integrated into whatever forms of responses.
Apart from the distance mental health and psychosocial-spiritual (MHPSS) intervention, CADIS engaged with emergency relief operations. Of the 37 mission countries of the Camillians, 18 developing countries were selected for the relief operation in Asia (India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam), America (Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Peru), and Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, CAR, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda). Three major programs were organized, such as 1) food and non-food distribution, 2) provisions of PPEs and 3) institutional support to healthcare personnel (frontliners). The main funders of these projects are CADIS Taiwan, the Episcopal Conference of Italy (C.E.I.), and some individual donors.
The emergency relief operation has a double objective, namely, a) to ease the economic and psychological burden of the people and b) to see, to feel, and to understand the situation on the ground in preparation for the second phase post-coronavirus intervention. The programs’ implementation was conducted with due observance to the public health protocols by the members of CADIS, CCF, confreres, and volunteers. Physical presence onsite was then necessary for this intervention to achieve the objectives of this project.
A total of 69.482 individual beneficiaries and 7 Camillian healthcare facilities were served in this emergency response. Hundreds of volunteers joined in this effort. The total cost of the projects was €750.000.
CADIS’s emergency response has eased the economic and psycho-spiritual burden of the families and the Camillian healthcare facilities, who remained operational amid the pandemic. On the other hand, it motivates CADIS members and volunteers to engage and be proactive, especially in a crisis.
JUDGE: Learnings and realizations from the response