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Ebola Outbreak: Pray With Us

More than 1,600 people have died and more than 2,000 have been infected in the latest outbreak of Ebola in central Africa.

The World Health Organisation has now declared the Ebola outbreak as a public health emergency of "international concern". The outbreak is the second-largest in the history of the virus, following the 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people.

Please join us in praying for children and families who are affected by this outbreak of Ebola. So far, more than 1,600 people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In June the outbreak spread to neighbouring Uganda, taking the precious lives of a 50-year-old grandmother and her five-year-old grandson. Just this week a case was confirmed in Goma on the Rwanda border. 

Our Compassion offices in Uganda and Rwanda are supporting the government efforts to provide awareness and education in the regions that border the Democratic Republic of Congo to help protect as many people as we can.

Our Ugandan colleagues share that there are no new confirmed cases of the Ebola Virus Disease in Uganda, but health officials are following up with 90 people that had contact with the deceased victims. Three people have been admitted to the Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit as a caution.  

An ebola update from Compassion Uganda

We recently caught up with Dr Shellina Atwine and Dr Yona Kapere from Compassion Uganda to hear the latest on the situation. 

The death toll in DRC has passed 1,500 and Ebola has now crossed over into Uganda. What is the mood like among people in the DRC and now among Ugandans? 

In Uganda the announcement of Ebola usually causes a state of high alertness. Ever since the Ebola cases were repatriated to DRC [by the family’s request], there is a bit of calm in Uganda.

However, with the ban on public gatherings still on in Kasese the mood is not normal as yet. Emotionally – at first there was anxiety but with the interventions the Ministry of Health put in place, people are less anxious but still vigilant. Spiritually, it is still a prayer point for many Ugandans.

What are some of the challenges in responding to Ebola? Has the 2014 outbreak helped nations in their preparedness or are the challenges just as great?

Uganda and other African nations have been working on Ebola prevention and treatment plans since the 2014 outbreak. The response in Uganda has been swift and educated. Doctors and governments have a better understanding of how to prevent an outbreak and recognize the signs of Ebola early on.

According to news sources, two of the biggest challenges in containing the outbreak in the DRC is people believing and following the information shared by the government and medical professionals and that the outbreak is in a conflict zone. Many people frequently cross the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the border crossings, people are being screened for fever and symptoms of Ebola.

Compassion primarily supports children. How have they been affected by the latest outbreak?

In situations of disease outbreaks, children are always at a higher risk. Their smaller size can make them more susceptible to the illness taking hold, and they may not be as aware of the dangers in their environment or proper hygiene practices to prevent getting sick.

The Ugandan government recently appealed to people not to spread false rumours about the Ebola outbreak. How much of a problem has this been or are people more informed this time about what Ebola is and how to prevent the spread?

There have been several cases both inside and outside the country where people believed a new case of Ebola was present. All of these cases outside of the Kasese area have been proven to not be Ebola. Because doctors are able to understand and identify Ebola so much better than they did 5 years ago, these cases have not caused huge problems so far.

What would you like the global church to pray for?

  • Please pray for the government officials and health workers in both Uganda and the DRC as they work to control the outbreak and treat individuals with Ebola.
  • Pray that the Ebola epidemic in the DRC would come to an end.Pray that Uganda would avoid an outbreak.
  • Pray for the protection of children and families along the border.
  • Pray for those who have lost loved ones to the disease and for healing for those who have contracted Ebola.

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