PanAfricare Blog

From the Pulpit, Bishop Francis Matua Champions for COVID-19 Vaccination


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In the tranquil heart of Makueni, Kenya, a beacon of hope shines brightly amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the forefront of this hope stands Bishop Francis Matua, a figure whose leadership extends far beyond the spiritual realm into the practical realm of community health.

When the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Makueni County in June 2020, Francis Matua had already assumed office as the bishop of the Anglican Church Makueni Diocese. He vividly remembers the experiences and uncertainties brought by the virus saying it brought economic turmoil due to the restrictions imposed by the government.

“We had people who contracted the virus and sadly we lost a number of them. Their families had to bury their loved ones under very difficult circumstances that made it even harder for them to move on.”

“People did not get enough time to mourn, the government restricted the number of people who could attend a burial and the ceremony was conducted in ways that were very foreign to most people.” Bishop Matua recalls the suffering and pain his followers went through.

He remarks that his followers still come to him requesting they conduct proper send offs. The bishop instead offers counselling to the bereaved families.

Being on the forefront witnessing the effects of the virus, Bishop Matua says when the vaccines came it was a big relief for him. He used his position as a religious leader to influence his followers to get vaccinated. He notes that there were a lot of misinformation about the vaccines and the virus itself. Bishop Matua leveraged his platform to dispel myths and address concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines. Through sermons, community gatherings, and outreach programs, he encouraged open dialogue and provided factual information, laying the foundation for informed decision-making.

            Bishop Matua getting vaccinated and addressing congregants

“We are in a community that people have beliefs that is backed by nothing but fear. In any gathering I attended I used the opportunity to dispel the myths and misconceptions about the vaccines peddled by fear mongers.”

Bishop Matua’s influence transcends mere words; he leads by example. As soon as vaccines became available, he rolled up his sleeve and received his shot, demonstrating trust in the science and faith in the protection it offered. His actions spoke volumes, resonating deeply with those who looked to him for guidance.

 “When I took the vaccine I demonstrated that it was safe for anyone to take it. You could see more people especially men joining the queue to get vaccinated.”

According to him, championing for vaccination corrects false teachings that some people hold about getting healed through faith. “It is nothing about faith but a biological process in our bodies. People  had to understand that.”

The Bishop recognizes the importance of reaching out to the younger generation. Through ACK-sponsored schools and vocational training colleges in Makueni, he actively encourages students to get vaccinated, emphasizing the role they play in protecting themselves and their communities. By engaging with the youth directly, he has fostered a sense of responsibility and solidarity, empowering them to make informed decisions about their health.

Vaccination in one of the ACK sponsored technical college in Makueni

Beyond the confines of the church, Bishop Matua has emerged as a champion for COVID-19 vaccination services in Makueni County. He has works closely with local authorities, healthcare providers and community leaders to ensure that vaccines are accessible and equitable, reaching even the most remote areas of the region.

As the sun sets over the rolling hills of Makueni, there is a sense of hope and resilience in the air. Bishop Francis Matua’s unwavering dedication to his community’s well-being has not only saved lives but has also illuminated a path forward in the face of adversity. Through his leadership, Makueni has emerged stronger, united in its resolve to overcome the challenges of the pandemic together. As the journey continues, Bishop Matua remains a guiding light, reminding us all that in the darkest of times, even the smallest acts of compassion and leadership can spark a profound transformation.


    By Kassim Lupao & Dominic Kosgei