Imphal: At a time when the healthcare sector is feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manipur, the Catholic Church has come forward to render its services. 

The state government approved the Catholic Church’s proposal of setting up a dedicated COVID-19 ward at the Catholic Medical Center (CMC) Hospital at Koirengei in Imphal during a meeting of the faith-based organisations (FBOs) with chief minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday.

“In these trying times, it becomes imperative as people of God to act towards protecting oneself, others and the world at large. While the action is challenging and at times clueless, we need to stand up to the situation facing all of us as much as we can best respond,” said Archbishop of Imphal, Most Rev Dominic Lumon DD, in his pastoral letter to the Catholic community.

At present, CMC Hospital, with 150 beds, has 60 oxygen cylinders, three ventilators and a sizeable number of doctors, nurses and support staff who offers service to the patients round the clock.

The state government has also assured all possible support for the functioning of the COVID 19 facility at CMC Hospital, run by the Catholic Church.

Besides the dedicated COVID-19 ward, representatives of the Catholic Church during the FBOs meeting also briefed and shared the concrete plan of action initiated by the Archdiocese of Imphal.

The Catholic community in the state has already formed a COVID-19 Task Force of the Archdiocese of Imphal, under the name Archdiocesan COVID Task Force (ACTF). It will extend help to the needy and collaborate with the civil administration towards COVID control. Also, the Church is making available the services of youth volunteers to the district administration.

Moreover, the Catholic Church will utilise the 12 existing wellness centres in different parts of the Archdiocese as Isolation/COVID Care Centers in the villages. 

Each of these wellness centres has a trained nurse and one health assistant.

Considering the well-being of the society during this critical juncture, the Church also planned to open up its infrastructures in the form of school buildings, hostels and community halls across the state. These will provide socio-psycho support, particularly to children whose parents are COVID-19 victims or are affected by COVID-19.

At present, the Church has 45 institutions spread across the 16 districts in the state. Last month, the Archbishop of Imphal wrote to the state government for a possible collaboration of the Catholic Church with the health department in preventing the spread and arrest of the COVId-19 pandemic in the state.

“According to the daily report of the health department on the COVID-19 situation, our state of Manipur is going to be in danger zone soon. The Catholic Church in Manipur is concerned about the present scenario and is willing to collaborate with the state health department in its effort to arrest the spread of the deadening pandemic,” he had said.

Time and again, the Catholic Church has been vocal in dealing with crisis and offered support to those in need of help or vulnerable section of people during any disaster.

Earlier, during the first wave of the pandemic, the Catholic Church in Manipur also came forward and extended a financial aid of Rs 5 lakh towards the chief minister’s relief fund. Moreover, since the pandemic hits the state, the Diocesan Social Service Society (DSSS), the Church’s social outreach non-profit organisation, has already reached 54 villages for relief works.

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