Churches in Nagaland urged to join efforts to combat COVID-19

The Naga Rising appeals Church to ‘step-in to this call of duty beyond the pulpit’

Dimapur, May 11 (MExN): The Naga Rising (TNR) today appealed the churches in Nagaland to take a “more proactive role in the present crisis arising out of the surge and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic” and endorsed similar suggestion made by a concerned citizen.

We support such an appeal for the Church to step-in to this “call of duty beyond the pulpit,” the TNR said in a statement, further suggesting that the churches in Nagaland to set “aside 10% of this year’s annual budget towards COVID health care and in saving lives.”

This is the best opportunity for our churches to be witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ by helping the sick and the needy, added TNR, a self-described “ideological body” of emerging voices working to fulfill the vision of  ‘Guard, Guide and Govern.’

Saving lives should be collective focus and solidarity is the need of the hour fights the pandemic, it further implied. 

The TNR statement came against the backdrop of Nagaland’s Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) and the erstwhile in-charge of all COVID-related activities in Dimapur district, Kikheto Sema’s appeal to churches and other institutions on May 10 to open up their infrastructure and workforce to assist the Government’s effort in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Meanwhile, the TNR further said that the Government of Nagaland should also provide policy direction and framework on how best to rope in aid and assistance by bringing all stakeholders in order to tackle the worsening situation.

“There is a dire need to involve private hospitals/medical practitioners, church, civil society, NGOs and well meaning benefactors,” it said.   

Let us quickly learn from the sudden rise in cases and deaths in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and how the health system was overwhelmed due to unpreparedness, it added. 

As we prepare for a similar worst case scenario, the TNR encourages the government and community institutions to come forward to help put together resources and make collaborative effort, it stressed, citing setting-up 100 oxygen beds COVID Care Centre under the aegis of Mount Carmel School Society, Delhi for patients requiring oxygen support and medical care.

To this end, the TNR further batted for a state level special purpose committee or working group to consult and engage all key stakeholders and prepare a modality for cooperation and collective functioning. 

“The main aim is to expand bed and health care facilities for the sick so that we can save lives.” The government on its part should also consider a separate ‘COVID-Care Saving Lives Contingency Fund’ under the Chief Secretary and this should be operated with outmost transparency without political interference, the TNR also recommended. 

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