Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone Helps to Contain Ebola

Medical teams in West Africa disinfect their hands. The recent Ebola outbreak is the worst ever recorded in West Africa. Photo: EC/ECHO Jean-Louis Mosser
Medical teams in West Africa disinfect their hands. The recent Ebola outbreak is the worst ever recorded in West Africa. Photo: EC/ECHO Jean-Louis Mosser

By Victor Mbomah Fabbah

The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa began in Guinea in March, 2014, and quickly spread across the border into Sierra Leone and Liberia. Eastern Sierra Leone has been seriously hit by the epidemic. (Ebola has infected almost 2,000 people in the three West African nations, and more than 1,000 have died, according to the World Health Organization). In Sierra Leone, people have abandoned hospitals out of fear of being associated with Ebola. The reason for this is because many people believe that if one tests positive for the virus it means their lives will end.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone (ELCSL) has also been affected by the outbreak, which has led to a drastic decline in attendance and a lot of things that make worship services very interesting are no longer observed. Church festivals and other annually planned activities have been suspended until the Ebola crisis is over. In respond to a call by Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, the ELCSL has joined the fight against the spread of Ebola through radio discussions, Sunday school teachings and house -to-house visits to increase awareness of the need to observe precautionary measures aimed at controlling and preventing the spread of the disease.

In addition, the Interreligious Council is working closely with the government, the health ministry, civil society and local authorities to take robust and united action against Ebola, including measures such as house-to-house visits. At present, movement in and out of two districts (Kailahun and Kenema) in the eastern region of the country is restricted and prices for essential commodities have skyrocketed as a result. For people in these areas, life is very hard and challenging. Also in the midst of the Ebola outbreak, an unusual and devastating flood occurred on August 8 in a section of Kenema city, which destroyed about 7 houses and made hundreds of people homeless.

Victor Mbomah Fabbah is a member of the Incarnation Congregation of ELCSL

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.