Covid 19 – Declaration of SCEAM
Covid 19 – Declaration of SCEAM (Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar)
“God, hear me as I make my plea; protect me from this frightening enemy” (Ps 64:1)
1. Prayer: We evoke this prayer in addition to the one we urged all to pray when we issued a brief Statement on corona virus on 6th March 2020. We do so to express, in these difficult times, our solidarity with the peoples of the African Continent and with all the sick infected with COVID-19, wherever they are. While we also pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of all who have lost their lives due to COVID-19, we consider it essential to share more thoughts on the pandemic.
6. URGENT CALL FOR CONCRETE ACTIONS
6.1 Appeal to Bilateral and Multilateral Groups: Thinking beyond COVID-19, we, as leaders and representatives of the Church in Africa and Madagascar, would like to urgently appeal to officials of bilateral and multilateral aid agencies to take a closer look at the case of Africa, which is currently facing the problem of lack of resources in the fight against the pandemic and the lack of the safety kits for those who, working in the informal sector, have had to suspend their activities due to lockdowns. Undoubtedly, initiatives have already been taken in the management of the impact of the pandemic, but we would like to go further to plead for the massive cancellation of debts of African countries, to enable them to revive their economies.
In addition, we plead for substantial aid to be given to the countries to support the establishment of quality health systems; to promote the emergence of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) aimed at easing unemployment problem; and to support food security.
6.3 Appeal to African Union: The health crisis caused by COVID-19 should prompt us to seek ways and means together to eradicate diseases like malaria and Tuberculosis, which continue to plague the continent. With this in mind, we call upon the African Union to sensitize member countries to contribute to the creation of a Solidarity Fund, which will be used to improve the health of the populations. We further urge African leaders to ensure that the limited available resources be used to assist those who really need help, especially, the poorest of the poor and do not end in the pockets of the politically connected people through corrupt practices.
6.4 Appeal to Church Institutions: We exhort all the Church institutions directly involved in this fight to remain steadfast and to work with other non-Church institutions in the promotion of good heath for all people of Africa and Madagascar.
Cardinal Philippe OUÉDRAOGO, President of SCEAM, 31 May 2020