AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - Plague alarm: the contribution of Catholic hospitals and Catholic dispensaries

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


Antananarivo (Agenzia Fides) - In Madagascar, pneumonic plague, the most serious and mortal form of plague, is under way, according to the country's Ministry of Health and so far has affected at least 343 people and has caused 42 deaths.
"In this period of unrest and distress in Madagascar, the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of the Church expresses the Church's concern for the families of the dead, people affected by the plague and the whole community", reads the letter from Mgr. Marie Fabien Raharilamboniaina, Bishop of Morondava and President of the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Health, sent to Fides.
"We support the Government's commitment which through the Ministry of Public Health is fighting against the proliferation of the plague", continues the Bishop. "The Church wants to be close to healthcare operators and encourage them to continue this fight with perseverance and confidence. It urges all to intensify the cleanliness and hygiene of environments (houses, streets, gutters) and to put into practice the recommendations of the Ministry of Public Health and WHO in cases of illness and deaths.
The Bishop continues by saying that the Church "invites everyone not to reject suspected cases and plague victims, to promptly assume the responsibility of highlighting any minimal symptom because plague is curable, to watch over any attempt of corruption and political manipulation in front of the weakness of the population, and be prepared to report suspicious cases".
"Catholic dispensaries are called to contribute and actively collaborate in the care of the sick, respecting all the precautionary measures required. May the Lady of the Rosary accompany us in this struggle, and the grace and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be always with us", concludes Mgr. Raharilamboniaina.
The World Health Organization has also addressed this issue, warning that the disease is spreading rapidly and has a high degree of contagion. Among the first measures to contain the emergency, Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana has announced the ban on numerous public meetings, especially in the capital of Antananarivo and major cities.
Since 1980 the plague has reappeared annually in the country, generally from October to March. However, the first death was recorded on August 28. According to the Pasteur Institute, plague has hit 40,000 people in Africa and Asia over the past 15 years. (AR/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 17/10/2017)