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Ebola education initiative needs your help

By September 9, 2014
Ebola education
(Photo cred: EFCA ReachGlobal)

(Photo credit EFCA ReachGlobal)

West Africa (MNN) — A new map shows an even wider range of areas in West and Central Africa that are at-risk for Ebola infections. Meanwhile, an EFCA ReachGlobal Ebola education initiative–one that can help stop Ebola from spreading further–desperately needs your help.

“Right now, the best thing to do is help out financially because the resources are extremely limited. We’re just not seeing the funding,” shares ReachGlobal’s Jim Snyder.

So far, there’s been a “relatively minimal response on behalf of the Church here in the United States.”

Redrawing the map

ebola map

Ebola outbreak map as of September 8.
(Map credit OCHA)

Scientists from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain say there are more animal carriers of the disease than previously thought. Yesterday, they published a map pinpointing African regions that are most at-risk of another Ebola outbreak.

According to Reuters, the researchers said identifying places where animals carrying Ebola may be hiding is helpful to prevent another outbreak.

“This work was a first step toward understanding where outbreaks of the disease may occur in the future,” Nick Golding, a U.S. researcher, told Reuters.

“To prepare for future outbreaks and to deal with the current one, we need to understand how human movements cause the disease to spread once it has entered the human population.”

While the Ebola virus spreads quickly from person-to-person through contact with bodily fluids, the virus is initially caught from contact with an infected animal’s blood, meat, or feces.

Containment challenges

“There are a lot of fundamental reasons as to why people are not responding as quickly or appropriately as they should, to the virus,” shares Snyder.

“Strategies of deception have been used by the government for years to get ideas or programs [facilitated]. Because of that, now the people are hesitant to believe anything that the government says.”

Ebola isolation unit (Photo cred: EFCA ReachGlobal)

Ebola isolation unit
(Photo credit EFCA ReachGlobal)

ReachGlobal shares three more reasons in this blog.

The Ebola virus itself poses another challenge. It can take up to three weeks before an infected person shows symptoms.

“It’s a very scary reality; [Ebola] could be in a lot of places right now that people aren’t even aware of,” says Snyder.

ReachGlobal and Evangelical Free Churches throughout West Africa are combating the spread of disease with Ebola education.

Ebola education

While the Evangelical Free Church of West Africa was busy planting churches before the outbreak, they’ve now shifted gears to combat the Ebola crisis through prevention. Their strategy includes manufacturing bleach and distributing it to communities, along with soap and awareness materials.

EFCA_Ebola education motorbikes 09-09-14

An Ebola response team gears up to provide community health training by motor bike. (Photo, caption courtesy EFCA ReachGlobal)

Because West Africa lacks decent roads and electricity, ReachGlobal responders are traveling to the villages by foot and motorcycle. They’re also using megaphones to communicate Ebola education messages.

“They’ve developed a number of teams that are traveling from Sierra Leone and Guinea, Liberia…sharing both the strategies necessary to protect themselves from those who might be infected, as well as just from the disease itself,” shares Snyder.

As they work, Snyder says ReachGlobal responders get a chance to tell people about Jesus and how He died to save them.

“A lot of people have lost loved ones, and a lot of people are very, very afraid. It opens up the opportunity to share the hope of the Gospel.”

To help fund ReachGlobal’s Ebola education initiative, go here.

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