5.20.20 COVID News from EHA Canada Director

Dear EHA Supporter,

It has been more than a month since we wrote about EHA’s ministry during the pandemic. Many of you have sent in generous gifts. We know that many face economic challenges so we are especially grateful that you have remembered the poor. Thank you. With the money we received, EHA is giving dry rations and prepared meals for families impoverished by the pandemic. They have purchased masks and PPEs and launched an education campaign teaching villagers about Covid19 and its prevention.

Update on Covid 19, India and EHA.
The number of people with Covid 19 in India has just crossed the 100,000 mark. It thus exceeds the number of cases in Canada and China. It has the dubious distinction of ranking #11 in the world. There are hot spots in major metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, but, thankfully, the number of cases in rural India, where most of the 22 EHA hospitals serve, is small. However, this has started to rise, and experts expect many more as out of work migrant workers return to their villages. The seven EHA hospitals designated by the government as covid centers have seen a few people with the virus. Some suspected cases were referred to covid centers. There is a paucity of masks and PPEs. Our hospitals have been using their creative skills to meet this problem. For instance, nursing students in Makunda have been sewing masks, the orthotics and prosthetic departments in Herbertpur have been designing and preparing PPEs. Education about hand washing and other preventive measures is being disseminated to the general rural population.

Caring for the poor.
We had written earlier about the plight of poor migrant workers. Though some have been transported home by trains, buses and trucks and some have cycled or walked home, and though the country wide shutdown has been partially lifted, the tragedy of the day laborers remains enormous. We are talking about millions of people. Some have stayed on in crowded city slums, without jobs, food or shelter. Others walk, literally hundreds of miles, to their villages. They suffer hunger under the blazing summer sun and dangers from highway traffic (some have been killed by trucks and trains). They sleep in the open along the way. Before they reach home, they may be placed in crowded, unsanitary quarantine camps. Worse still they may act as “silent spreaders” taking the virus into their villages. The suffering is immense. They need food, shelter and essentials such as hygiene kits. EHA is trying to meet the need. 

Financial crunch.
Some EHA hospitals have not been able to pay staff salaries in April. Patients who should access care are not doing so for fear of contracting the virus or because of travel restrictions. Thankfully, with easing of the shutdown, this is being reversed.

Silver Lining.
All is not doom and gloom however. In the darkest moments we hear stories of empathy, coming from unusual quarters. Businesses, NGOs, churches, ordinary citizens and even some police, have been supplying food. Income supplements are being provided by the government. And of course, EHA staff are going out of their way to mitigate the suffering. Even so, the poorest suffer. 

“This too shall pass”.
We are a people of hope. Thought the future is uncertain, we believe that this too, like other plagues and calamities will end. The world’s pre-pandemic way of life characterized by greed, guilty pleasures, cruelty and oppression of the poor need a course correction. God is shaking the earth, the church and all the structures of society. Hopefully, our sufferings will usher in a chastened world, a revived church and the nations flocking to God. This is not a “pie in the sky”. It has happened before. Eighteenth century Britain was a world of debauchery, corruption, slave trading and a reprobate church. The Wesleyan revival brought a reformation not only in religion but in civic life as well. Slavery was abolished, workers’ lives improved, the poor and the orphan were cared for and the welfare state (which we all take for granted today) was established. The church was renewed, the gospel, education, medicine and social reform were taken to far away places. Can this happen again? Certainly! Our prayer is that it will, in Canada and India and the world.

Meanwhile, pray.
Covid 19 is a call for all of us to slow down, repent, pray and seek God. It is an opportunity to intercede fervently for families, for Canada and the nations. And when you do, say a prayer for India, especially for her poor and for EHA’s ministry. In particular pray fervently that as the migrant population reaches the villages that EHA serves, the virus will not spread. Our hospitals report that they will be overwhelmed and unable to cope because of a lack of ventilators and other essential equipment. 

God bless you.

Abraham Ninan

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