Christian Activist: Churches against Ebola
Some of West Africa’s poorest countries are facing national emergencies as they wrestle with the Ebola outbreak which has claimed more than 5,000 lives. Ebola is making orphans, severely stretching local health services, hitting the national economies hard, and putting development gains back by years.
In Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the situation is very serious. Ebola has struck the heart of communities, every day bringing more poverty, hardship and death. With the death toll rising as infection rates spiral, stopping the spread of Ebola is paramount. People wonder: Who is safe when even the doctors are falling sick?
In Liberia, the Ebola virus killed 46-year-old Mayanmu’s husband and 23-year-old son. Widowed with five younger children to support, Mayanmu is facing tremendous hardship, and hopes that neighbours would help with food and other needs have been snuffed out by the fear and stigma surrounding the outbreak. Mayanmu has gone from being in a family that was able to support itself, to facing hunger, isolation, discrimination and abandonment.
People are living in fear, not just of the virus, but of their friends, family and neighbours. The trust and sense of community that once defined the people of these countries has disappeared. Communities here had a culture of shaking hands, embracing friends and colleagues. Now, nobody touches anyone. We have to take great care…
Francis Wahome is Tearfund’s country director for Sierra Leone and Liberia
This is an extract from the December 2014/January 2015 edition of Reform.