COVID - 19 Update from Nigeria
Many of you have reached out to inquire how the Faith Alive Foundation in Jos, Nigeria is faring during these uncertain times. We thought it best to present the true picture as stated from the frontline staff there at the Clinic. While the challenge is great, hope and gratefulness are always present, yet here is what we know:
Since testing for COVID-19 has been sparse in Nigeria, 15,000 tests for 200 million people, it is difficult to assess the current situation. The chief-of-staff to the President of Nigeria died of COVID-19 recently, exposing the poor state of the health care system there, even for high ranking government officials.
In Jos and the Plateau state area where FAFN and its seven satellite clinics are located, there has been a total lockdown on most days of the week, crippling employment of most of the residents and making food and supplies difficult to obtain. The lockdown has also affected patients' willingness to go to the clinic for care and/or medications. Due to increased fear and tension, pregnant women are not receiving pre-natal care and are choosing to deliver their babies at home. As a result, early Infant Diagnosis of HIV is on the increase. The cost of supplies and medicines that people may need to buy over-the-counter has risen due to a supply chain shortage. HIV-positive patients are not able to easily access their needed ARVs and therefore fall out of adherence to their treatment. Cases of sexual and gender-based violence in homes has also dramatically increased.
The Faith Alive Foundation has worked endlessly to meet the needs of the community they serve. Being deemed an essential service, the clinic is allowed free movement despite restrictions so they provide as many home visits as possible. FAFN also provides telephone recharge cards to key staff, volunteers, mother buddies and Gender Champions to keep in touch with patients. They have an emergency team and stand-by vehicle ready to respond at all times. They have purchased and utilize infra-red thermometers and provide hand washing, hygiene kits and sanitizers to the staff and patients who come at off-peak times during a non-lockdown day to maximize social distancing. Ongoing training and implementation of measures in crowd-control, social distancing and sanitation involve every staff member and volunteer.
With no palliative measures offered by the Nigerian government, an increasing request of FAFN by the community is for food. As incomes have been dramatically affected and many days per week a total lockdown, many patients have no way to feed their families. The Faith Alive Necessities of Life (FANOL) food bank is able to provide a very small stipend to some but is desperately short in supply.
Through all of this, FAFN has adopted the inscription "BECAUSE HE LIVES WE CAN FACE TODAY AND EVEN TOMORROW". FAFN is turning these uncertain times into an opportunity to share the Gospel, provide prayer and hope to the community it serves and are leading many to make additional inquiries and commitment to Christ.
What has become increasingly evident during this crisis is that FAFN does not have the physical space to handle an isolation-situation such as this so need for infrastructural expansion is greater than ever. Also, there is need for a guesthouse near the Clinic to allow staff to stay there during times of crisis in whatever form--curfews, lockdowns, etc. Finally, with no government support and no national healthcare system in place, FAFN envisions a self-sustaining medical and social service hospital which meets the needs of humanity in a holistic way. These are not merely the hopes and dreams of FAFN, they are the NECESSARY NEEDS of the community they serve.
So the question we are asked is "How can we help?" The first answer is pray. The second answer is consider ANY size donation to FAUSA for the FANOL food bank at the Clinic, as this is the most immediate need of the community. Please consider donating the savings you are acquiring from not driving your car or from not buying daily coffee. It may not seem like much to you but it will help feed the FAFN community while they tackle so many battles that they face. Thank you for your prayers and support!
Note - We have already raised approximately $12,000 for support of the FANOL food bank in July 2020. What a blessing, thank you for your gracious support!