What is COVID-19?
Human Coronaviruses are common throughout the world. There are many different coronaviruses identified in animals but only a small number of these can cause disease in humans.
On 7 January 2020, ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ or COVID-19. The majority of the case-patients initially identified were dealers and vendors at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in China. Since then, the virus has spread to more than 100 countries, including South Africa.
What is Iliso Care Society doing?
As an organisation that has been taking social responsibilities in the community for years, we have embarked on awareness and food support programmes to the vulnerable communities. Our support involve delivering family food packs, raising awareness in the safety possible way and counselling.
In collaboration with community leaders we have donated tons of sanitizers and soaps Khayelitsha residents to maintain good hygiene through the national lockdown. Residents were also given food and porridge.
Khayelitsha recently became the first township in the Western Cape to confirm a COVID-19 infection casewhich led to fear of the virus spreading around the township, while some have not taken the matter very seriously.
The CEO Vivian Zilo said water and sanitation is a major problem, with many houses that still don't have access to running water, and hundreds of residents share one block of communal toilets.
“We want to offer more support to this large community as we understand that most of the households not only struggle to get proper clean water and sanitation, it is our goal and mandate to ensure at least people are given a helping hand in aiding with the necessary supplies in preventing any further spread of the COVID-19 virus” said Zilo.
The department of social development, social crime prevention, Brita ( Brita GmbH a German company which manufactures water filters) were some of the organisations who donated some of the products and supplies.
One of the goals was to educate the community on how serious this virus is and how social distance will really help in combating the spread of the COVID-19.We wanted to ensure that this initiative will also be able to educate this community on proper sanitation and how adhering to the lockdown guidelines could potentially save their lives.
Ward Councilor Ntomboxolo Kopman said they were very concerned over how people listened to fake news concerning this virus, so being able to educate the site C community was very beneficial for their own good.
The residents of Khayelitsha welcomed the initiative with open arms as a small group of people went on to collect their parcels. The aim is to not break the general rules of the lockdown, hence taking less number of people at a time to educate and hand them their parcel is the main plan of the initiative.
“As a resident I’m grateful because most of us do not have the privilege to learn more about this epidemic, it was more educational for more because most people usually undermine or do not take the news about the virus. It is a good initiative and it will also help out those who do not have proper media outlets such as TVs or channels that talk broadly on the COVID-19 virus.
“Also I’m certain there will be more initiatives like this one in the future to ensure that our community stays educated, right now I’m truly grateful for organisations like iLiso care society for putting our community first.” said Lunathi Goba a resident in Khayelitsha site C.