Time of testing, Spring 2020
The coronavirus has found its way to the delta.
There is now a State lockdown with army and police enforcement. We anticipated this as it spread across Europe and ensured we had extra fuel for the next three months, extra food for the team and for those vulnerable in the community . Anticipating shortages and price hikes we have sourced a sizeable amount of masks, aprons and gloves and extra drugs for the clinics at Enekorogha and Oyangbene.
The ward has been closed for admissions. Patients are screened and treated as asymptomatic carriers. Public health measures, include education via tannoy and community education via the council, churches and village stakeholders.
Shielding the vulnerable is not realistic in this environment. Oxygen is not available, there are no ventilators. The communities are at serious risk if the virus takes hold. Education is the key.
For many, fear is very real. No ability to stockpile food, no reserves of cash and knowing there is no cure and nothing available at hospital, the media coverage of the pandemic across the world brings despair. The team both educate , instigate public health measures and point people to Jesus, not as a desperate gesture of blind faith, but with confidence. They have a reason for their hope, and a surety in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save.
Annual cholera and dysentery epidemics coupled with the constant and pervading threat of malaria has built resilience into the communities ( perhaps more than in the west) but this new threat with new methods of transmission, no-one anticipated.
Calmness, due diligence, education and christian witness provide a very real antidote to panic.
We met as a team in early March, for training, prayer, and fellowship. We focused on preparedness, maturity and 'strengthening that which remains' ( cf. Revelation Chapter 3). God's timing was, as always, perfect.
With gang violence lessening as the floods eased, Oyangbene Clinic was officially reopened, the only clinic of its kind in this remotest region of the delta creeks. Access channels to the community are silting up with the dry season, and travel is sometimes a challenge.