ACN News – The Ebola Virus

© Aid to the Church in Need

“The virus has taken away many of our experienced workers”

Church has made considerable efforts in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia

By Reinhard Backes, ACN International

Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

ACN, Königstein/Montreal –  Thursday, January 22, 2015 – The Catholic diocese of Kenema in the eastern part of Sierra Leone is deeply involved in the fight against Ebola. The Bishop of Kenema, Patrick Daniel Koroma, has pointed this out in a letter to the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). “The diocese of Kenema works through its networks of parishes, small Christian communities, hospitals, clinics, schools, religious communities to reach out to many people in these key areas: sensitization, safe burial or appropriate burial techniques, psycho-social support, education and training, help the discharged, social mobilization, message of hope.”

© Aid to the Church in Need

© Aid to the Church in Need

Aid to the Church in Need has provided 140,000 CAN in support of the efforts of the Catholic church in the fight against Ebola in Kenema as well as other dioceses of the West African country. The money was and continues to be used to finance medical emergency and aid programs, food aid, the training and mobilization of employees and for pastoral work with patients, family members and aid workers. In the neighbouring country of Liberia, which is also affected by the Ebola epidemic, Aid to the Church in Need has provided almost 70,000 CAN in support to date, especially in the Archdiocese of Monrovia. Further projects are in the planning stage.

Risking their lives to prevent the spread of the virus

In his letter, the Bishop of Kenema in Sierra Leone confirmed that these efforts come with considerable risk for the workers. “The virus has taken away many of our experienced health care workers which is sad. Some of these nurses and lab technicians are parishioners. We continue to hold in esteem and pray for front-line workers who are risking their lives to prevent the spread of the virus.”

© Aid to the Church in Need

© Aid to the Church in Need

According to Bishop Koroma, this crisis is demanding a great deal from the Church. “The urge to respond to acute humanitarian needs has led the Church to utilize the little resources available. To pay staff is a big problem.” There are first indications that it may be possible to push back the Ebola virus, but the bishop is very concerned for the future. The tasks are immense. “Learning from the civil war in the past, the impact of the Ebola virus on our communities is hard. Market days have been put on hold, schools were closed in the country before the end of the school year and still remain so. The number of orphans is increasing by the day. So there is the need to look at the following: economic revitalization, education, agriculture, healing the wounded memories, care of orphans.”

 

© Aid to the Church in Need

© Aid to the Church in Need

 

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About amandacomacn

Communications Assistant and Community Manager - Aid to the Church in Need (Canada)

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