CCIH Member Ebola Responses October 2014 Print {sharethis label=}
Reports from the Faith-based Ebola Response
 
Faith-based organizations have been on the front lines responding to the Ebola outbreak from its early days, providing care to patients, working to prevent the spread of the virus and partnering with churches to educate pastors and communities about the disease and dispel myths. CCIH is working to help faith-based organizations share information, challenges and requests for help in the Ebola response, including establishing an Ebola section under Resources on the CCIH website and an Ebola listserv.
 
Below, CCIH members share a sample of their work responding to the Ebola outbreak
 
SIM (Serving in Mission)
 
Report from Bob Blees, Vice President, SIM USA
 
The SIM campus, ELWA in Monrovia, Liberia, is the main center for Ebola patients in the capital city area. In April 2014, the first containment center was set up in the chapel of the ELWA hospital.  It had about eight beds, but after the first patients arrived it soon was evident more was needed. The ELWA2 Ebola containment center was set up in one of the new hospital buildings and holds approximately 50 patients. Now they have 80. ELWA2 is running with participation of the Ministry of Health and ELWA hospital staff.
 
 
Photo: Health staff at the ELWA1 Ebola Unit. Courtesy of SIM USA.
 
This center also soon became full and more was needed.  Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) set up what they are calling the ELWA3 containment center, which began with a series of tents on the ELWA campus, with each tent holding 40 patients. Their goal was to accommodate up to 400 patients. From the beginning, all the centers have been overrun with patients, with the need far outstripping the supply of manpower and facilities. ELWA1, ELWA2 or ELWA3 refers to three different containment centers established on the ELWA campus, which has been the SIM ministry center in Liberia since the early 1950’s. (The ELWA name was originally Eternal Love Winning Africa.)
 
With all this activity, and the intensity of the care for this many patients, you can imagine the number of medical workers necessary, as well as the infrastructure. Since the government does not supply power or water to the ELWA campus, the entire operation relies on the facilities established by SIM and maintained by our faithful Liberian workers. We continue to struggle with supply chain issues for the basic materials our staff need in order to remain safe. We are also working to assist in strengthening the infrastructure. 
 
Women of Hope International
 
Report from Kim Kargbo, President & CEO, Women of Hope International
 
Women of Hope International is helping in the Ebola response through community health education. We have produced materials that have been distributed to hundreds of organizations and ministries throughout West Africa and have been translated into dozens of languages.
 
The health lesson is available to download in French and English from our website, along with a picture booklet that accompanies the lesson and was designed specifically for low literacy level people. We also developed a lesson on a Biblical response to Ebola, which is available in English.
 
Photo: Women in Sierra Leone with "Fighting Ebola with Truth" material prepared by Women of Hope Internatonal. Courtesy of Women of Hope International.
 
I spent two weeks recently in Sierra Leone, and it was most discouraging to see the deep levels of misinformation that exist with regard to Ebola, particularly regarding the transmission of the virus, and the extensively broken systems that are keeping this epidemic from being contained.
  
As the health crisis continues and worsens in Sierra Leone, it is being closely followed by a growing humanitarian crisis. Food security in quarantined areas is becoming an issue, and the economy is collapsing. The women we serve are all affected by disability, causing them to be among the most vulnerable. We are working on a relief effort that will sustain them through the crisis, along with continuing the efforts of educating the broader community on how to prevent and contain the virus.
 
 
Afro-Medical Community Health and Welfare Service
 
Report from Patience Flomo, CEO, Afro-Medical Community Health and Welfare Service
 
Afro-Medical Community Health and Welfare Service runs three community health clinics in Liberia and our facilities are mainly addressing non-Ebola health cases, such as malaria, delivering babies, treating typhoid and more. We are also engaged in identifying Ebola orphans, quarantined families, survivors and linking them with other NGOs and the government to provide supplementary feeding. In just two days recently we identified 31 people in these categories needing help. The need is rising and we need to provide food and other basic supplies to these families. When they are quarantined they have no means of finding food. They are stigmatized. We are seeking help to improve infection control at our facilities to enable us to address primary health cases.
 
Samaritan's Purse
 
Report from Ken Isaacs, Vice President for Programs and Government Relations, Samaritan's Purse
 
Samaritan’s Purse has been working on home-based care in Liberia for the last month. We have prepared a curriculum and a kit to help people providing care. People must be trained to protect themselves and take care of their loved ones. We have 345 local staff in Liberia and we have trained thousands of people, including pastors, but more is needed. A 70 percent isolation rate is only going to happen when people go to the Ebola Care Center or start staying home if they do not have access to community care.
 
Samaritan's Purse uses community structures, such as churches, for awareness training and infection control training. We place posters throughout communities telling people what the disease is. We are sending supplies and are trying to make sure people have what they need to prevent infection, take loved ones to care centers, and if necessary safely take care of people at home.
 
See more about Samaritan's Purse multifaceted approach, including a recent shipment of 100 tons of equipment, establishing Community Care Centers and providing public health education.
 
Medical Teams International
 
Report from Roger Sandberg, Director of Emergency Relief and Global Security, Medical Teams International
 
Medical Teams International (MTI) has been working in Liberia for the last 10 years with a focus on health systems strengthening. We provide monitoring and supervision to 240 health clinics in Liberia and are currently working to improve Ebola prevention and infection control and to provide supplies to clinics. MTI also monitors and supervises the health clinics at three refugee camps in Liberia for refugees from Côte d’Ivoire.
 
We plan to begin emergency home-based care for Ebola patients, which is a stop-gap measure until treatment centers can be built. MTI had a doctor working at the ELWA hospital until the end of July, but we are no longer working in Ebola treatment units, and are focusing on prevention.
 
If your organization is responding to the Ebola outbreak, please let us know by contacting Kathy Erb at CCIH and share what you are doing. 
 
New Ebola Resources Section on CCIH Website
 

CCIH set up a new section under Resources on the CCIH website to share resources from faith-based and secular agencies and partners responding to the Ebola outbreak.
 
You can find the Filovirus Haemorrhagic Fever Guideline document from Medecins Sans Frontiers, which is considered to be a key resource for organizations responding to outbreaks, as well as other resources.
 
The faith-based resources section includes resources from CCIH member Women of Hope International to help respond to the Ebola crisis, including: a biblical church response; a bible study; and a health lesson on symptoms, prevention and fears and misconceptions. Shown at left is an image from a picture booklet intended to be used along with a health lesson. | Visit Ebola Resources