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Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria, Zenith Bank: 1012829522.
Caritas is at the heart of the Church, according to Pope Francis. Caritas indeed is one of the three planks on which the Church’s mission stands. The Church’s mission is an integrated mission to evangelize, to nurture and to show love. This is expressed succinctly in Deus Caritas Est when Pope Benedict XVI said “The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia) and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable” (Deus Caritas Est, 25).
This stand was reiterated in the Motu Proprio on Caritas which Benedict XVI issued in November 2012. The work of charity is therefor not an after thought or one that is relegated to only one struggling society. It is the joy and the burden f the entire faithful.
Charity is also not a restricted activity of individuals; groups, communities, nations could do charity. ‘The church is also called as a whole to the exercise of the diakonia of charity, whether in the small communities of particular churches or on the level of the universal Church’ (Cf Motu Proprio).
Charity cannot be a haphazard activity. Pope Benedict XVI insisted it must be something organized. Although there is the natural instinct to love and care, charity cannot depend exclusively on instinct or impulse but through a rational process of organization. This is why it is extremely important to coordinate. Coordination begins at the local community/parish level to the diocesan, provincial and subsequently the national office, with has this overall mandate on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).
Ever since its establishment, Caritas Nigeria has been doing its best to coordinate activities in the relief and development sector on behalf of the CBCN. This is a no mean task especially considering the autonomous nature of the diocesan institutions. However, the Church is a communion and by nature collaborative. Caritas Nigera would continue to do its best to work along and with the institution it coordinates in spite of perceived challenges.
As a Board, we shall continue to support the mandate and the strategies of Caritas Nigeria so that it becomes not only a world-class organization but a dependable support to those that are most in need.
Our prayer and work therefor is to see Caritas Nigeria fulfill its mission, which is to promote the dignity of all, through participatory measures in line with Church’s tradition of practical love and teaching. I urge every stakeholder not only to read this annual report of 2014 but to buy into the vision and mission of Caritas Nigeria and sacrifice towards its strategic objectives.
This was a Forward message by Most. Rev. Lucius Ugorji to the 2014 Annual Report of Caritas Nigeria/JDPC.
The One Human Family, Food for All campaign by the confederation of Caritas around the world is part of the global efforts of Caritas Internationalis to end hunger in the world through the provision of humanitarian and development interventions around the world. The goal of the campaign is to uphold human dignity by ending hunger by 2025 on all continents.
The campaign was launched on the 10th of December 2013, with a global wave of prayer by Caritas in various countries and at the Caritas Internationalis Headquarters in Rome by the Holy Father Pope Francis.
In Nigeria, Caritas joined the global wave of prayer and had a press launch where the Executive Secretary Fr. Evaristus Bassey remarked that “right from time, the Catholic Church has been involved in the provision of services and one of the cardinal works of mercy is to feed the hungry. The Church is very passionate about the theme of this campaign which is emphasizing that every individual has the right to food”. He further emphasized that the Church will continue to engage and advise government on the need to address corruption and eradicate poverty in Nigeria. He also stated that whatever the Church can do even in terms of provision of services it will continue to do so.
The One Human Family, Food for All campaign is still ongoing with various activities lined up for Caritas Nigeria in the course of 2014.
All around the world, the Catholic Church is one of the biggest health providers. In Nigeria, the Catholic Church has 1384 Health facilities mostly spread across underserved and hard-to-reach communities in the 36 states of Nigeria, providing varying levels of healthcare delivery services and humanitarian assistance to the poor, vulnerable and excluded persons regardless of race or religion.
Sustainable HIV/AIDS care and Treatment Action In Nigeria (SUSTAIN) Program
Caritas Nigeria is currently implementing the five years comprehensive HIV care, prevention and treatment grant titled Sustainable HIV Care and Treatment Action in Nigeria (SUSTAIN) funded by the United States Government through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Caritas Nigeria is one of the five CDC Nigeria’s Lead Implementing Partners with the mandate to coordinate HIV care and treatment interventions in faith based health facilities. The goal of the program is “Morbidity and mortality due to HIV infection is reduced in Nigeria.”
The SUSTAIN Project works through faith based health facilities to target people living and affected by HIV and AIDS in underserved and hard to reach communities in 12 states in Nigeria. The goal of the project is to saturate all faith based health facilities with required HIV care and treatment services in communities where there are needs. SUSTAIN provides value-based prevention education, treatment, care and support to people living with or affected by HIV in Nigeria. In line with the national plan to eliminate Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT), SUSTAIN has a strong focus on preventing new infections in women of childbearing age, creating demand for uptake of antenatal care, and providing access to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services for pregnant mothers.
The SUSTAIN Project presently supports about 100,000 people living and affected with HIV and AIDS with necessary services across 120 sites comprising of comprehensive care and treatment healthcare facilities, stand-alone PMTCT facilities and community based organizations. Caritas Nigeria currently works in 12 states of Nigeria, namely; Benue, Delta, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kogi, Nassarawa, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Plateau States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Caritas Nigeria’s priority on the SUSTAIN Project is in line with the priority of the Government of Nigeria and CDC Nigeria to scale up HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment services in Nigeria. Caritas Nigeria’s focus is to strengthen the health systems in faith based healthcare facilities and the capacity of coordinating faith based health departments and organizations to support the national agenda while we continue to expand services to underserved communities and improve the quality of services. It advocates with governments, international organizations and drug companies for universal access to cost-effective and suitable medicines.
Caritas Nigeria is focused on improving the quality of services across all service delivery points by providing regular technical assistance, onsite and offsite training and mentoring, strengthen our strategic information program and promoting operational research activities.
The followings are some notable accomplishments of Caritas Nigeria’s work on the SUSTAIN program:
HIV Care, Treatment and Prevention
• 77,083 adults and children provided with care
• 46,656 adults and children with HIV infection are receiving antiretroviral therapy (current).
• 110,180 pregnant women were tested for HIV.
• 7,190 HIV positive pregnant women received ARVs to prevent transmission of HIV to their children.
• 406,091 individuals received counselling and testing services for HIV.
• 7,892 Orphans and Vulnerable Children received support services.
• 4,817 individuals (in-school and out-of-school youths) reached with HIV prevention interventions.
Friday, May 12, 2017 will mark an epoch in Benue State as Caritas Nigeria launched a set of eRanger mobile clinic bikes to support its current Community Anti-Retroviral Treatment (cART) program in the state.
The event took place at Winika Hotel, Gboko and witnessed the Benue State Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Cecilia Ojabo playing host to Caritas Nigeria Team led by its executive secretary/CEO, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey at the end of which she officially commissioned the eRanger bikes in the presence of key stakeholders and beneficiaries of the cART program in the in the state.
The ceremony was the climax of a two-day meeting between the Caritas Nigeria program team and members of the cART program which drew together proprietors of community-based pharmacies, patent medicine vendors (PMVs), administrators of Comprehensive Care and Treatment (CCT) sites that serve as hubs to the PMVs, as well as supervisory and roving team members for the cART program.
The eRanger is a special kind of bike designed with the full capacity of a mobile clinic and can reach uncommon terrain where most other vehicles cannot reach. The new set of eRangers is envisioned to strengthen cART program by enabling the cART teams to deliver ART services and commodities to hard-to-reach communities in the state.
As part of her efforts in reinforcing the existing cordial relationship among the CBCN agencies, as well as intervening in social and economic needs, Caritas Nigeria has donated a 30 Seater Nissan Civilian bus to Veritas University of Nigeria, Bwari – Abuja.
At the presentation of the vehicle which took place on the 31st of August, 2017, the Executive Secretary/CEO of Caritas Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, articulated his immense interest in ensuring that students’ mobility needs are met with the arrival of the bus, especially given the geographical location of the institution. He expressed the fact that the Episcopal Chairman of Caritas Nigeria Bishop Lucius Ugorji gave his approval for the initiative to be undertaken.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Kwanashie, alongside members of the Governing Council witnessed the presentation and expressed gratitude to Caritas Nigeria for the apt gesture.
Caritas Nigeria sourced the bus from a donor interested in supporting Catholic Church activities.