The last six weeks have been some of the hardest that Caritas Macau has faced in its already long history, but the institution’s Secretary-General, Mr. Paul Pun Chi Meng, believes that the worst is already part of the past.
The nursing homes under direct management of Caritas were allowed to open their doors to visitors on January 11, after four terrible weeks in which nursing home staffing challenges severely increased due to the worst Covid-19 outbreak that Macau has experienced since the onset of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.
Since mid-December, the institution’s employees had their hands full. Several dozen elderly patients died during the last six weeks in the nursing homes under Caritas care and the institution had no choice but to ask infected employees to look after infected patients. The scenario has, nevertheless, improved over the last few days, Paul Pun told O Clarim.
“Since January 11,we are allowing people to visit their relatives again. They can visit without having to book in advance. We felt that the patients and their families were entitled to offer each other comfort and support. Our hope is that we don’t have to face ever again what we went through due to Covid,” the Secretary-General of Caritas emphasizes.
“Even if weakened by the disease, our employees never stopped working. If they stopped working, our patients – particularly those who tested positive to Covid-19 – would have no one to look after them. Nobody was available to do that job. What we decided was that, if the employees tested positive, they would look after those users who were already infected. That way, at least, they would be given the chance to recover. I believe, however, that the most challenging moments are already behind us. We are now ready to start over; to work together to prepare better days to come,” Pun Chi Meng adds.
The Secretary-General of Caritas was earlier this month awarded the Medal of Merit in Philanthropy by the Government of Macau. To be granted such a distinction, he acknowledges, is an honour, but Paul Pun – a towering figure in the social service sector in Macau – says that the award should have been bestowed upon the organization’s employees and benefactors. He dedicated the award to Father Luís Ruíz and the Mother Maria Góis, the founders of modern social working in Macau.
“The way I see it, the medal is not something that I have achieved by my own enterprise. The founder of Caritas Macau, Father Luís Ruíz, and the founder of the Institute of Social Service, Mother Maria Góis, were the ones that built the foundations of charity and social work in Macau. If anyone deserves this recognition, it’s them. On the other hand, none of this would be possible without the support of the Church, namely of the Chapter of the Cathedral. It was with the Chapter that I was able to follow my university studies,” Paul Pun Chi Meng said.
“I also need to thank the hard work carried out by Caritas staff and volunteers, together with our benefactors. This medal is also owed to them; it is not exactly the fruit of my personal work. I’m just another humble servant. My mission is to serve the people,” the Secretary General of Caritas concludes. The institution had already been awarded the Medal of Merit in Philanthropy in 2003.