Moving toward critical mass on Ebola outbreak

By October 6, 2014

West Africa (WRN) — Editor’s Note: The latest report from the World Health Organization says as of nine days ago, 7,178 people, mainly in West Africa, have been infected by the Ebola virus. 3,338 of them have died. What follows is a breakdown of World Renew’s response in the hardest-hit areas.

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

World Renew is responding in partnership with Christian Reformed World Missions, the Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL), the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), Christian Extension Services (CES), and the Christian Reformed Church of Sierra Leone.

In Liberia, CHAL is training community health workers in the prevention of Ebola in 18 health facilities of three counties. This has motivated more people to visit the health centers. World Renew has also supplied CHAL with much-needed medical supplies. In a country where 3,400 Ebola cases have already been reported, this type of assistance is crucial.

On September 24, 452 cartons containing 3,765 kilograms of supplies to fight Ebola arrived in Liberia. Funded by World Renew and shipped by MAP International, these cartons contained sprayers, masks, face shields, protective suits, gloves, protective boots, thermometers, intravenous solution, oral rehydration packets, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, vitamin pills, and other basic medicines.

“We are very happy for this donation. It came at a time when facilities lacked medicine and supplies,” said Patricia Kamara of CHAL.

CHAL is also training health workers and community volunteers to properly diagnose the disease and treat Ebola patients so that the spread of the virus can be stopped.

In Sierra Leone, World Renew and its partners are fighting a lack of understanding about the disease. They are working in the Ebola “hot spots” where 2,000 cases have already been reported to educate people about how Ebola is spread, how to recognize the symptoms, what to do if one has the symptoms, how to prevent the transmission of Ebola, and the role of the whole community in dealing with Ebola.

These key messages have also been translated into the local languages of the affected areas. Through Christian Reformed World Missions, pastors of the Christian Reformed Church of Sierra Leone have been trained using a manual prepared in partnership with the Timothy Leadership Training Institute.

World Renew, together with CCSL and Christian Extension Services, is also providing hand washing basins, sanitizer, soap, and chlorine bleach to infected communities in Sierra Leone and teaching people how to prepare a chlorine mixture and disinfect homes and personal belongings. They are setting up Ebola Task Forces in communities to work on preventing the spread of Ebola.

In addition to these physical interventions, World Renew and its partners are encouraging prayers.

“As Christians, the Bible teaches us to give thanks to God in ALL circumstances, because there are always lessons that we can learn from such difficult situations, especially in experiencing the grace of God,” said Rev. Istifanus Bahago of CCSL. “We are very much aware that thousands of Christians are praying for us in West Africa. The situation is indeed worrisome, but we want to say a big thank you to all. We have faith that one day this virus will go away and normal life will resume. We have faith that God will protect us and we shall live to testify of his goodness in our lives.”

World Renew’s West Africa Team Leader Mary Crickmore agrees. “West Africa has never been in greater danger than now. Our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone and Liberia are fasting and praying, and they ask us to join them. We must also participate in answering our own prayers by giving generously to enable them to get the supplies and do the work.”

Please be praying for those on the front lines of this disease and for an end to this terrible crisis.


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