Dushanbe (Agenzia Fides) - With an aid project for the medical staff in the country's prisons, the Catholic Church in Tajikistan would like to launch a new mission to accompany prisoners and go "to the periphery" to preach an evangelical message of love and closeness. In particular, prophylaxis and treatment to prevent tuberculosis are to be supported, with Caritas Tajikistan carrying out appropriate measures with the support of Caritas Luxembourg.
"We try to support the medical staff in the phases of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease. One of the key aspects is socio-medical support for inmates released from prison during treatment: the aim is to ensure that therapies are not interrupted. The program includes transporting these patients to civilian tuberculosis treatment centers in their neighborhood, as well as meeting doctors and family members to ensure that the medication is actually being taken. We also take care of providing psychological counseling to patients and their families and offering nutritional programs as an incentive for the success of the treatment", reads the note.
It is not the Catholic Church's first project for prisoners. Volunteers from the local church worked with prison medical staff to develop and implement protective measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the Qubodiyon City Prison in 2020. The project involved around 12,000 people, including inmates and guards, who participated in actions aimed at "strengthening health units to prevent and control the spread of the epidemic", the project managers said.
The Catholic Church in Tajikistan is a small religious community in a 98% Muslim social context: there are currently around 100 believers, spread across the two parishes of Dushambe and Qurǧonteppa. The Catholic presence in Tajikistan has existed since the 1970s: the first believers were mainly Germans from Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania, who were deported to the country during the time of the Soviet Union. For years, during the communist regime, the congregations of Tajikistan were completely cut off from the universal church. In order to structure the local Catholic presence, Pope John Paul II founded the "Missio sui iuris" on September 29, 1997. Charitable campaigns have been initiated since 1983 by small groups that officially joined together in Caritas from 2004 onwards. (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 20/4/2021)