The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated vital personal protective equipment and other critical supplies to the Department of Health in South Africa to help the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation was announced in Pretoria at a briefing addressed by Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize and Elder S. Mark Palmer, President of the Church’s Africa Southeast Area.
Mkhize welcomed the donation as a positive gesture of partnership between the Church and the South African government.
“In our discussions with the Elders of the Church it was very clear that they’ve taken our fight against COVID-19 as a fight that they really have to be part of, and therefore have come on board to make a contribution, and they’ve made a generous contribution”, Mkhize said.
The donation consists of 70,000 N-95 masks, 30,000 surgical masks, 50,000 coveralls, 3,420 packs of plastic aprons, 50,000 face shields, 1.5 million gloves, and 250 infrared thermometers.
The combined value of the items donated is US$1 million, which translates to 17.4 million rand in the local currency.
“We are very pleased to receive this donation,” Mkhize told the briefing, adding: “Elder Palmer, we want to really say, thank you for the partnership, and we really feel honored as well to call ourselves your partners.”
In his remarks, Elder Palmer said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was keen to see that critical help is available, not only to the members of the Church, but to every South African at this challenging time.
“We [subscribe] to the Christian values of reaching out to our neighbors in times of need. We seek to be good neighbors of people of all faiths, of all persuasions, all political parties,” Elder Palmer said.
South Africa currently has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa, with more than 34,000 cases and more than 700 deaths.
Mkhize said the donation will equip frontline healthcare workers in the fight to combat the spread of the virus.
Speaking about the religious sector, Mkhize said it has a role to play in society to provide both physical and spiritual support, and counsel to congregants and members of the community in general.
“As government we acknowledge this role of religious leaders in this country, in particular during a difficult time of uncertainty such as this one, where there’s a lot of anxiety.”
Elder Palmer concluded his remarks by saying: “We seek to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and He taught that there are two great commandments: the first, that we love God, and the second is that we love our neighbor as ourselves.
“The spirit in which we join with you is that we can contribute. We recognize that this is the beginning. We will continue to contribute throughout the provinces and where there’s a need, to be able to bless our fellow South Africans in whatever way we can.”
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