Sierra Leone (MNN) — Last week, Sierra Leone was celebrating the release of the final known Ebola patient in the country. But this week, 50 people have been quarantined after a woman, who was later confirmed to have the virus, died.
Though this is forcing ministries like Crossroad Bible Institute (CBI) to put their work on hold, there are new developments taking place to enable them to continue soon.
“From our understanding and investigation, this woman contracted the virus from a male survivor who didn’t meet the 90-day cycle and got infected, and they were hiding it,” National publicity and outreach coordinator, Abdulai Bayraytay, told Voice of America.
After passing away, World Health Organization (WHO) said a swab taken from the woman confirmed her case. It’s been estimated that she’d been hiding her infection for 5-10 days.
50 people who are believed to have come in contact with her have been identified as at high-risk, and quarantined. So far, no new infections have been reported, but “we should not be surprised if we see new cases coming out,” Ibrahim Sesay of the National Ebola Response Centre told a local radio station.
BBC News reported The National Ebola Response Centre is debating whether they should isolate the entire village of Sella, where the woman died.
“There’s that fear factor: ‘Oh, what does this mean for Sierra Leone now? What does this mean for our campus,’” says Jacob Busscher of CBI says. “I don’t have the [answers] for that. We will see what it brings forward.”
CBI’s prison satellite ministry, which helps prisoners and their families grow in Christ, has been forced to stop in West Africa ever since the epidemic outbreak.
“Sierra Leone and Liberia, where we do have satellite campuses: those have essentially been paused temporarily until Ebola has been significantly diminished and the security has been lifted so that our directors are able to enter prison.”
Though this case has brought on new obstacles and delayed the process slightly, several locations in West Africa are slowly opening up and lifting sanctions that keep CBI workers from helping on the ground.
“Does that mean that we’re up and running and 100% forward? Not at all. But we are excited that there are baby steps being made to work toward the established campus that we once were,” Busscher says.
“The Gospel impact, especially in West Africa, is intricately tied to living out God’s Word. So often times, it’s not only the lessons that get received by many of these prisoners, but it’s often something more.” That may be blankets, food, water, or one-to-one contact.
Whereas the U.S. doesn’t allow individuals to go into prisons unless they’re a pastor, a chaplain, or have a license to enter, West Africa is a bit more lenient, enabling CBI to deliver provisions and the Gospel message.
“That is the beauty of CBI life,” Busscher says
While Sierra Leone is on alert once again and CBI’s work is on hold, the number one thing you can do to help is pray.
“Prayers are just vital to keeping us going to providing God’s wonderful grace to wash over us, as well as to keep moving forward and looking on how we can bring God’s ministry wherever it is.”