COVID-19 … News we dreaded
A Message from the Founder of Kids for Kids:
Bad news is doubly terrible when one’s worst fears materialise. I have been dreading the news that COVID-19 had reached Darfur. I received this message from our Programme Manager, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, on 20th May:
“Elfasher town has witnessed high mortality rate among old people 50-60 years old , some showing Covid 19 like symptoms and other sudden death. The average death rate is 12 person a day . We have lost friends and neighbors. The rate is expected to increase in the coming days. Although the lockdown is announced but it is not well implemented in addition to there being no proper health measures. Today a committee was formed for investigation about the cause, whether Covid 19 or another disease. Meanwhile it is advisable to stay at home and use mask and social distancing if for any reason one goes out.”
The ‘other’ disease Salim mentions is because they have no tests. Any medical tests taken have to be sent to Khartoum. It is the same when water is tested when we drill handpumps. There are no ventilators, no oxygen in hospitals. No treatment. I think you know that we are appealing for soap. It is the only defence for villagers. In addition to deaths in El Fasher there are as many on a daily basis in Mellit – which is a large, very poor, town used by many of our villages, including ‘our’ little 9 year old’s village. (Ibrahim is of course as tall as my son Alastair, now with children of his own! I met Ibrahim and his family again in February.) In Darfur, to be old is to be over 50, and there are a large number of people with diabetes in Sudan, making them doubly vulnerable. I am worried for them all.
Please can you think of people who would help? Maybe family trusts might consider supporting the soap appeal, as it is COVID-19 that is threatening so many children? Perhaps they may consider helping even though Africa may not be what they would normally support. Might there be a way you could help to publicise our appeal? We cannot do this alone. As you will know, virtually all our normal streams of funding have dried up, from collecting tins and coffee mornings to our local street collection and all our events. Please do what you can.