Looking back on a year of COVID-19, webinar will shine light on current challenges

Hands are washed as a precaution, Ganta, Liberia, Photo: Albin Hillert

WCC The World Council of Churches (WCC) will host a webinar on 15 March that looks candidly at “signs of the times” after one whole year has passed since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Featuring contributions from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, among others, the webinar will highlight issues related to social justice, following a year of suffering and disruption for many around the world.The webinar is leading up to a special week of prayer on COVID-19 being observed from 22-27 March.

According to WHO data, over the past year there have been over 99 million cases with over 2 million deaths. The wider impacts of the pandemic have affected almost all areas of life, and thrown pre-existing inequality and discrimination into even sharper relief. In collaboration with its global ecumenical partners, the WCC aims to galvanize mutual solidarity and support as an affirmation of our common human fragility which this pandemic has exposed.With a focus on public witness and diakonia issues, the webinar will present up-to-date information on the pandemic, its impacts and the global response.

Among other aspects, the webinar will highlight impacts and challenges in the spheres of mental health, vaccines, the situation of frontline health workers, the wider social and economic consequences, and the special impact on children and youth.

Speakers will include intergovernmental partners, as well as senior representatives of the WCC’s ecumenical partner organizations. Voices of healthcare workers, the elderly, the bereaved, youth, children, and other vulnerable populations will be heard.

Speakers will include:Dr Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, WHO Director-General (by pre-recorded video message)
Ms Aisling Falconer, UNICEF education specialist
Ms Vuyelwa T S Chitimbire, executive director, Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals
Mr Andrew Wileman, assistant director, Older People’s Care, The Salvation Army
Dr David Boan, World Evangelical Alliance
Rev. César Garcia, general secretary, Mennonite World Conference
Rev. Andrew Morley, World Vision International CEO

Opening remarks delivered from Prof.Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy General Secretary and an invitation to the week of prayer from Rev.Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, interim WCC deputy General Secretary.
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