Ebola has tragically killed around 2,400 people in West Africa.
What sounds like a horrible disease “over there” means something close to home. I had the privilege of visiting Liberia in 2009. Since then, our church has sent two teams to work alongside the Balama Development Alliance ( www.balamaproject.org ) in villages near the Guinea border.
So far the outbreak has not spread to the village of Balama or Gbansue where we worked. Now, however, the country is not only dealing with the terror of Ebola, but there are reports of Cholera as well. Combine these with Malaria, and all three have similar symptoms but need different treatments.
For now, BDA has put together a plan to help prepare the towns of Balama and Gbansue in case Ebola does reach their people.
While resources are needed, good information is needed most. Rumors abound about the origin of the disease. Some are saying that Ebola is a disease that the government has put in the water to kill people.
Here is the response plan so far:
- To morally support and encourage the hearts of families that are affected by Ebola
- To give families hope in and through Scripture during these difficult times
- Recruit and train volunteers for leading Education and Awareness campaigns on Ebola
- Purchase locally produced bleach, chlorine and caustic soda for sanitizing water supply
- Distribute soap and awareness materials to local towns and villages
Items for Purchase
- Print posters and flyers in Kpelle language about Ebola
- Bleach, chlorine, and caustic soda (1,000 bottles) to be purchased in Monrovia
- Soap (3,000 bars)
- Surgical gloves (10 cases)
- Megaphone for communication and education (10)
- Translation of American CDC information into the Kpelle language
In addition to good information and resources like the ones listed above, the Liberians will have to change some of their long held traditions that are helping spread the disease. Jessy Togbadoya, Founder of BDA, explained to me how burial traditions of the Liberians are helping to spread the disease.
Normally, a dead body is handled by the family, washed, and even kissed on the forehead. The idea of handing off a body to a funeral home like in America seems dishonoring to the deceased. But, this close contact might actually spread the disease as it lives in the sweat and bodily fluids of the dead body for a time.
BDA is doing great work in education, economic empowerment, and sharing the good news of Jesus’ love. But now they must adapt their priorities to protect the people they serve.
Jessy is headed back to Liberia on September 23rd to put this plan into action and help prepare the people for the possible spread of Ebola and Cholera.
Pray for Jessy, leaders of BDA in Liberia and America, and the people of rural villages all over Liberia who might not have accurate information and access to vital resources they need for health and protection.
To learn more about the work of Balama Development Alliance, visit www.balamaproject.org