$67,000 from UCC at work in Africa against Ebola
In the past several weeks, United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries has stepped up financial assistance to medical partners dealing with the Ebola virus in Africa— in the hope that an early response will have a greater impact in containing the outbreak of the disease.
To date, UCC Disaster Ministries has allocated $67,000 to fight against Ebola–$50,000 of which was sent in September and October to international and ecumenical organizations on the front lines in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“One of the most important components of this response is prevention, which is being accomplished through education, sanitation and personal protective equipment for healthcare workers,” said Zach Wolgemuth, executive for Disaster Ministries.
The World Health Organization estimates about 4,951 deaths from Ebola in Africa through October (2,413 in Liberia; 1,510 in Sierra Leone; 1,018 Guinea).
Global Ministries, the shared ministry of the UCC and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is doing what it can to work against the disease, assisting partners ministering to those living in the areas hardest hit by the virus.
“The global health crisis created by the spread of the Ebola virus has created fear of the unknown and awareness of our deep interconnectedness on this planet that can be life-giving or life-impeding,” said the Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss, team leader for UCC Global Sharing of Resources. “The faith response to the Ebola crisis is personal.”
IMA WorldHealth will provide personal protective equipment and proper training for healthcare workers in regions expected to encounter Ebola cases as the virus spreads from neighboring nations. The UCC is one of 11 faith-based partners that funds IMA health programs, shares resources, collaborates on projects and shares a goal of advancing health and development through faith networks.
“Due to IMA’s history and ongoing work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their established relationships within the country, they are uniquely positioned to support and engage the healthcare systems,” Wolgemuth said. “There have been a few isolated cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this year but the main objective of this work relates to prevention.”
Meanwhile, UCC partners in Liberia and Sierra-Leone are working on local awareness building, prevention strategies, addressing rumors and myths related to Ebola, and supporting anti-stigmatization efforts.
Individuals and congregations interested in learning more about supporting this effort, which allows the UCC to respond more fully to worldwide crises, can donate to One Great Hour of Sharing.
“While we have not issued a specific appeal for this response, we are grateful for the continued support,” Wolgemuth said.
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