The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has appealed to the government to urgently address the continued rising numbers of truck drivers contracting Covid-19 in the country.
The Bishops said truck drivers contribute immensely to the economy of the country and the high number of infections among them indicates that there is a gap in addressing the challenges they face regarding their health and safety.
Speaking on behalf of the Bishops at the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi, while celebrating Sunday Mass, Bishop Virgilio Pante of Maralal Diocese said the matter is of great concern to Kenyans and should be addressed with speed to avoid the spread of the disease.
The mass was attended by the Head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, Cardinal John Njue and Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of the Archdiocese of Mombasa.
Bishop Pante who is also the Chair of KCCB Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Sea-farers said as the country continues to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bishops are also concerned about the impact of the vulnerable population, and in particular the refugees, internally displaced persons, people on the move such as truck drivers, pastoralists, street families and the mentally challenged.
He said the refugees and the internally displaced persons face a risk of contracting corona virus because they reside in densely populated camps and appealed to the government to urgently implement mitigation measures to protect the vulnerable groups.
“The people living in streets in towns and those suffering from mental illness are in a more precarious situation and high risk of contracting the disease,” said Bishop Pante.
The Prelate said even though cases of Covid-19 among the pastoralist communities are low, there is need for the government to sensitize the community on Covid-19 risk factors and preventive measures and encouraged both the national and county governments to continuously raise awareness of the pandemic to the communities.
Bishop Pante also appealed to Christians and well-wishers to contribute in cash and kind towards the CARITAS kitty to enable KCCB support victims affected by Covid-19 and floods during these hard times when most people have been economically affected by the pandemic.
“As we appreciate many philanthropists supporting the affected victims with food and health care during these trying moments, we also call upon the national and county governments and people of good will to support them in all ways possible,” he said.
Concerning gender based violence being witnessed in families, Bishop Pante appealed to families facing the challenges to exercise restraint and embrace the virtues of patience, dialogue, forgiveness and peace building, as it has a negative impact on the mental health of the victims especially children and women.
“We as Bishops appeal to the caregivers of the victims of violence to speak out and seek for help from religious leaders, hospitals and counselors,” he advised.
The Bishops also commended the health workers for risking their own lives to care for and treat those who have contracted the disease, noting that the spread of the virus could have been worse without their effort and commitment and prayed to God to keep them safe and well at all times.
Regarding the reopening of churches, Cardinal Njue called on the catholic faithful to remain patient and wait for government communication.
By Bernadette Khaduli