Right now, men and women across the globe are bracing themselves for the full force of the COVID-19 pandemic to hit. We believe this time of waiting could be a moment of hope as we pray and help people prepare. “We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20).
For many of those we serve in Latin America, Asia and Africa, physical distancing is extremely difficult due to high population density. It is especially true for refugees living in formal settlements or camps, like the Rohingya in Bangladesh and the South Sudanese in Bidi Bidi in northern Uganda.
And while handwashing with soap is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the virus, many of the families World Renew serves lack basic hand washing facilities at home (on average, only one in four families have facilities). There are also grave concerns about underlying health conditions, including HIV and malnutrition, that will make COVID-19 far more deadly. In some countries, treatment won’t be available for everyone who needs it. “With relatively poor medical infrastructure we are concerned that once the virus arrives, the death toll will be high,” says Steve Sywulka of World Renew’s Southern Africa Ministry Team. That’s why World Renew staff are helping people to prepare.
World Renew staff are informing people in their networks about the importance of physical distancing, handwashing, and proper hygiene. Meetings and community training sessions have been rescheduled or cancelled to comply with local government restrictions. As much as possible, our partners are working from home to keep themselves and others protected. We are physical distancing and taking every precaution so that we do not inadvertently introduce the virus into a community.
For example, in rural Cambodian communities where World Renew serves, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19. But, as in other countries, the Cambodian government has asked people not to gather in large groups. World Renew partners there have shifted their focus from group programs to visiting communities safelyㅡbeing sure to practice physical distancing themselvesㅡto educate people about health, sanitation and physical distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. In nearby Laos, World Renew partners have been resourced to build a modest stock of supplies. This will allow them to continue to provide their program participants with hygiene items if borders close and stocks are reduced. World Renew country consultant in Nigeria, David Tyokighir, says, “In Nigeria, World Renew has shared prevention education material with churches and small groups.”
Our staff are doing everything they can to bring hope and to lessen the devastating impacts of this pandemic. If you would like to support our community health programs, including our COVID-19 support for them, you can do so by clicking below or by calling us toll free at US: 1-800-552-7972.
1 Timothy 2-1-4
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.