COVID-19 in Karagwe Tanzania A Letter from the Board of Directors, Educate Tanzania, IncApril 4, 2020
UPDATES TO THIS LETTER ARE IN PURPLE – APRIL 17, 2020
These are unusual times, calling for unusual responses. We do not know the specifics of your situation but hope in a deep way that you and those you love, are healthy and doing everything possible to stay that way. We are in this together means that the compliance of one affects the outcomes for all. In this vein, we are mindful of our beloved partners in Karagwe. Please take a few minutes to listen in on the situation there and/or scroll to the bottom to hear how you can help.
Life in Karagwe: Soap is a luxury. Disinfectant is not to be found. Respirator and ventilator are four-syllable words in English. Water is miles away. Education is person-to-person and shared in community – largely at church. Healthcare workers are scarce, often unpaid and in constant demand for other serious illnesses. And that is on a normal day. Educated persons, largely clergy, serve as one-stop pillars for the vulnerable—meeting physical, emotional and spiritual needs. They do an amazing job and have an outstanding track record.
Our partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Karagwe (KAD) serves over one half million people who live in remote, Northwest Tanzania. KAD builds community capacity as it manages 272 congregations, three primary schools, three secondary schools, KARUCO University, the only hospital in the District, five dispensaries, a Bible school, a vocational school and a host of social service programs including AIDS prevention, care for widows and orphans, maternal care, food delivery and more. So few serving so many.
Africa, like most continents, reports increasing cases of COVID-19. As of April 4, 2020 , Tanzania has 20 cases, 1 death and 3 recovered. An unofficial report showed that Karagwe has its first case. Sharing a border with Karagwe is Rwanda with 89 cases and Uganda with 48 with no known deaths so far. As of April 17, 2020, Tanzania has 147 cases, 5 deaths. Unofficial reports show that Karagwe has several cases. Rwanda has 138 cases and 0 deaths; Uganda has 55 cases, 0 deaths. Lack of testing, lack of transport to health facilities, underlying conditions, competition with wealthy countries for protective gear, and other complications lead to incomplete reporting, probable under-representation of cases and minimal medical care. The World Health Organization has warned Africa to brace itself.
But together with our partners in Karagwe, we are strong and decent, and instead of throwing up our hands, we are doing all we can to help prevent and slow the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19. Our partners in Karagwe are no strangers to life-threatening illnesses (Ebola, typhoid, malaria, acute dysentery, etc) and are using what they have learned from past health crises to stem the spread of COVID-19. Their somber, pragmatic and selfless mindset prompts them to be creative with few or next-to-no supplies and the frightened, not-yet-informed masses.
KAD has submitted a proposal that outlines ways you can help them protect their health care workforce, educate the people of Tanzania and provide hand-washing stations and equipment to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Please email educatetanzania AT gmail.com if you would like a copy of the proposal. (We publish our email this way to reduce robot activity.)Or simply click here if you would like to donate.
In response to the URGENT SUPPORT DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC ($252,000.) proposal submitted by Tanzanian Partners), ETI First Responder Donors gave $90,000. and have made it possible to help KAD prepare and provide for their people. KAD is providing hand-washing stations, soap, disinfectant, PPE, education to outlying areas and food for those afflicted. We are working together to secure respirators and ventilators in a very competitive environment. Please consider giving at this important time.
Steve & Jan Hansen on behalf of the Board of Directors, Educate Tanzania, Inc
Steve Hansen, Co-founder, Director
Jan B. Hansen, Co-founder, President/CEO
We hope that all around the globe – people are spared.