By Stella Zulu Kaferapanjira

Since the year 1992, on the 11th of February, the Church commemorates World day of the sick. This day encourages people to pray for those suffering from various illnesses and for those providing care. In the same spirit this year, the Church in Malawi through the Catholic Health Commission has asked for special attention to the sick and those providing assistance and care both in healthcare institutions and within families and communities amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released for the day, the Church encouraged all people to develop a direct relationship with the sick and be empathetic and compassionate and let the suffering of others become theirs

“The experience of sickness makes us realize our own vulnerability and our innate need of others. It makes us feel the more clearly that we are creatures dependent on God. When we are ill, fear and even bewilderment can grip our minds and hearts; we find ourselves powerless, since our health does not depend on our abilities or life’s incessant worries. Sickness raises the question of life’s meaning, which we bring before God in faith.” Reads the statement.

The health commission has also highlighted the need for the country to invest resources in the care and assistance of the sick and called for political will during this pandemic. This is said to be a priority linked to the fundamental principle that health is a primary common good.

“The current pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in our healthcare systems and exposed inefficiencies in the care of the sick. The elderly, weak and vulnerable people are not always granted access to care or in an equitable manner. This is the result of political decisions, resource management and greater or lesser commitment on the part of those holding positions of responsibility”.

Compelled by the commandment of love which the Lord Jesus Christ left us and the realization that a society is the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its frailest and suffering members and the spirit of fraternal love, the conference has therefore, dedicated some of its health facilities as treatment and isolation centres for those suffering from coronavirus disease

The Catholic bishops have therefore, asked all Catholics, people of good will and development partners to join the noble cause and make sure no one feels excluded, alone and abandoned. The bishops have also reminded people the need to love and protect each other by observing COVID-19 precautionary measures.