“Our way of working has completely changed,” says Annick Schauwaers, one of our social companions for people with serious medical problems. “Every two days, I contact families by phone. Many don’t follow the media, so I try to make them aware of the precautions. Most understand and respect them. A Syrian family told me that in Aleppo, they had to spend six months completely confined without access to anything.”
The majority of the people being supported need regular medical care. Caritas teams need to adapt quickly. Many hospital appointments have been postponed, but we are organizing ourselves so that patients will still receive their medication. I also supervise two patients who receive home care,” says Annick.
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There are many barriers for people, particularly vulnerable people. Our colleagues ensure the link with the institutions that support them can continue. “Language is an important barrier. Some services however, are physically inaccessible, such as the doctor who had indicated his telephone number on the door of his office. My client couldn’t call him because he didn’t have credit.”
SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE
“I feel very lonely. I want to go out but I can’t. It’s sad, very sad,” says Haider, an Iraqi refugee, who lives in one of our reception facilities. Due to his medical problems, he strictly complies with quarantine measures. The few visits he has are those of our teams who continue to accompany him.
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In addition to care and support, Caritas offers a particularly attentive ear. For a 19-year-old isolated girl who is also a resident of one of our facilities, our presence is very important. “She is very lonely. Her appointments with the psychologist have been postponed. We call her often,” Annick says. “Our role is more important than ever during this very special time,” she concludes.
STAYING WITH PANDEMIC VICTIMS
In Belgium, Caritas International makes every effort to ensure the social support and protection of people within its reception facilities, and in particular, the most vulnerable among them. The Caritas network is also active in the fight against the spread of the virus in some 50 countries. In Congo, Syria, Zimbabwe, Venezuela or, closer to home in Italy, where mobile teams help with screening, organize emergency reception, provide food distribution, etc.
Join the Caritas rescue team! No need to leave your home, support the Coronavirus Emergency Fund via our online donation platform via with the link BE88 0000 0000 4141 with the communication “Coronavirus 005.”