Churches and agencies across the Anglican Communion are working together to support the Church in West Africa and address the crisis. The Anglican Alliance has helped to coordinate conference calls and information sharing to connect the Province of West Africa, especially dioceses in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea with the wider Communion, to share news of the situation and the response of the local church to this health crisis.
Agencies such as Episcopal Relief & Development and Us are partnering with the dioceses in West Africa, which are working through hospitals and clinics, as well as providing community support and up to date information through church networks on preventing and treating Ebola. Trinity Wall Street is also in conversation with the dioceses there to support their response.
Clergy in West Africa are challenging Anglicans worldwide to “live as their brothers’ keepers” and act to address the Ebola crisis. In a statement released after a ‘Church and Community Response to Ebola’ workshop, the priests from the Anglican Diocese of Kumasi, Ghana, said:
“We encourage Anglican Churches or Christian Churches the world over to express their solidarity by observing one Sunday as Ebola Sunday to pray and mobilise resources for the affected areas in the sub-region or West Africa. They should encourage their governments to send resources, especially the identified drugs, to the affected areas by way of advocacy.”
They called on the United Nations to provide material and equipment to countries affected by the virus.
The Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa, Dr Daniel Sarfo, also issued a statement welcoming the UN Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).
He expressed his gratitude to its staff and to other agencies including Anglican agencies for their contribution to tackling the crisis in region. He said, “Now Ebola is at war against humanity, the world must act now to stop Ebola.”
Archbishop Sarfo’s full statement can be seen below.
A recent grid shared by the Anglican Alliance shows how and where different dioceses are working to ensure a coordinated relief response, supported by Communion agencies. Focus areas for Ebola prevention both in hospitals and in the community include:
National and community-based messaging and education
Leaflets, posters, meetings, radio messages
Protective equipment for health workers
Buckets with swigs, chlorine etc
Hospital and clinic supplies
Screening centres, some set up locally
Nationally and regionally the teams are working together to coordinate meetings, share information, work on key messaging and education, and train districts and communities to respond to the crisis. Importantly they are also working to address attitudes, theology and the stigma related to the disease.
Emergency food aid is also being provided, particularly to those who are most vulnerable in the quarantined areas. ‘Survivor packs’ have been put together to aid those who recover from the disease and bolster community resilience.
Ebola has so far killed 3,439 people and infected 7,494. Experts say it could infect up to 1.5m people by January of next year.
Give to the relief response by following these links:
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone and the Diocese of Liberia, and Us working with Dioceses where the Ebola is critical, including the Diocese of Freetown and Bo in Sierra Leone, the Diocese of Liberia and the Diocese of Guinea.
THE PRIMATE OF THE CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF WEST AFRICA WELCOMES UN MISSION ON EBOLA EMERGENCY RESPONSE
On behalf of the President, the people and the Church of the Province of West Africa (Anglican Communion), I welcome the UN Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) led by Mr. Anthony Banbury to Accra, Ghana to begin a mission to contain the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa. We consider the UN mission as timely and we are very grateful.
The Advance Party of United Nations Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) has arrived in Accra in Ghana, which will be used as the base for the Mission. It will be made up of 250 personnel – 100 will be based in Accra and 150 for the affected Countries.
Their mandate is five-fold – “stopping the outbreak; treating the infected; ensuring essential services; preserving stability; and preventing further outbreak”. It is our prayers that we all support them to make the mission’s work a great success.
We express our profound appreciation to the UN, WHO, and organizations and bodies like the Bill Gates’ Foundation for coming to our aid, not forgetting those working with the Anglican Church such as Us (USPG), the UK Government through DFID and those who are about to join. We also encourage Anglican Churches or Christian Churches the world over to express their solidarity by observing one Sunday as Ebola Sunday to pray and mobilize resources for the affected areas in the sub-region or West Africa.
Now Ebola is at war against humanity, the world must act now to stop Ebola.
With every blessing
Archbishop Daniel Yinkah Sarfo
In the picture: Local volunteers unloading supplies in Banga County, Liberia.
Photo credit: Episcopal Relief & Development