ASIA/KAZAKHSTAN – An increase in Covid-19 infections: the Church seeks international support

Almaty – “The increase in infections due to Covid-19 that occurred in Kazakhstan since 1 July has led us to ask for international support in launching an emergency project. Currently the situation related to Coronavirus is very critical in Kazakhstan, especially in the peripheral areas of the Country. Doctors are doing what they can and must deal with a shortage of drugs and equipment. To respond to this situation, like Caritas, we have identified a general coordination center in the city of Almaty and other action points in the dioceses of Nur-Sultan, Karaganda and Atyrau. In parallel, we are talking to Italian doctors who can diagnose and prescribe therapies thanks to telemedicine. In order to obtain the arrival of drugs, however, we must hope for the intervention of the Italian Embassy in Kazakhstan. This is an immediate response to the emergency, but we hope that a stable structure will emerge from here that can guarantee health care especially in rural areas, without any possibility of medical treatment”. This is what Fr. Guido Trezzani, a missionary in Kazahstan and National Director of Caritas in the country of Central Asia, tells Agenzia Fides. The local Church has developed the “Stop Covid Kazakhstan” project, sent to Caritas Internationalis and shared with Agenzia Fides.
The operational phase of the project will be entrusted to three people who will work there full time, trying to involve as many volunteers as possible in the various dioceses: “We are sure that many will answer our appeal, because we have continuous evidence of how much the population is aware of the responsibility of every single person in finding emergency solutions”, says Fr. Trezzani.
In addition, local actors have been identified to help speed up aid: among them, there are doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs, the national airline and an Internet connection provider.
According to what was documented in the Report sent to Fides, after an initial lockdown that ended on May 4, the Kazakh health situation has dramatically worsened because part of the population underestimated the emergency and ignored basic anti-Covid measures, such as washing hands and social distancing: “Already under normal conditions, health care was not able to provide adequate responses to the needs of the population, especially in the suburbs. To date, the system is literally collapsing”, notes Fr. Trezzani. In this context, moreover, phenomena of corruption and trafficking of medicines by pharmacies, doctors or officials of municipal administrations have emerged at a national level: “The President himself publicly condemned these facts, and has initiated legal measures against the people involved”, reads the document. While working on the implementation of the emergency project, the Kazakh Church is also providing aid to families left in poverty due to the lockdown, distributing food and, where possible, medicines.

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