ADRA Helps In The Ebola Virus Crisis 

Volunteer nurse, Pauline Cafferkey’s condition and experience had been life-threatening on her return from Sierra Leone at the end of December. Although now recovered she was struck by the dreaded ebola virus she had volunteered with others to combat . It has had such tragic consequences in West Africa. As of now there have been over 22,000 cases and over 9,000 deaths from the Ebola virus. The battle against the disease appears to be succeeding with fewer outbreaks being reported. The BBC reported the Ebola Virus is spreading, and that Ebola is so dangerous it kills 90% of those infected. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is said to be the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976. At Cooper Adventist Hospital in Liberia Dr Appel “acknowledged his own fears in treating patients during the crisis. Three staff at Cooper Adventist Hospital became casualties. A post on the ADRA website by Edward Vandi reads: “I have been in Sierra Leone since November with the British Medical Team stationed at Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Port Loko. I have had much interaction with the public and I can confirm that ebola is real and is causing devastating effect to the community. In addition to the effect of death, survivors face discrimination from their community. Properties are being burnt for fear of cross contamination and so survivors are faced with difficulty when their life saving/properties are destroyed. At our ETC, children are being disowned by family members because of the stigma. It will take Sierra Leone some time to stand up and overcome biowarfare. “Assistance is needed and can be provided safely in the community if good training is provided for staff. Before the British Team flew to Sierra Leone, we had extensive training from the British military about biohazard and I think that this training can be replicated for civilians working in the community. The Telegraph headlines the conclusion of its Christmas fundraising appeal, ‘Sierra Leone’s hi-tech weapon against Ebola’. One of the projects the newspaper has been supporting is Adventist-run Masanga Leprosy Hospital, a facility tucked away in the deep countryside but which supports the health needs of around 400,000 people. “Edward Vandi in regular life is a clinical team leader at Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire. As a volunteer he has the knowledge and skills needed, but he says, “I have a passion to help vulnerable people.” He grew up as a child at Masanga Leprosy Hospital in northern Sierra Leone. He was given love and care by two Swedish doctors, Roland and Brigitte Kazen. He claims he is the man he is today because of them. “Edward Vandi has been of a committed team of Adventist laymen that are supporting and running Masanga Hospital. When Edward flew out in mid-November he found it to be a distinct advantage that he spoke the language and that he could culturally identify with those he was seeking to help.  This broke down a lot of barriers and prejudices – important in encouraging patients to attend the hospital.  He could also clearly see the difference the team were making.  “Each day I am doing something and I see somebody’s life being changed.” Such is the high risk to volunteer health workers in West Africa “Time” names Ebola health workers as its ‘person of the year.” ADRA will have appreciated the financial contributions made by the churches here in the UK as well as the dedication of those members who have volunteered their skills as they worked alongside government and other aid agencies to combat this terrible disease. We will surely not forget the bravery and commitment of the volunteers who have taken great risks and still taking risks to help the countries of West Africa affected by Ebola.

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