AFRICA/DR CONGO - Ebola: "As religious communities we must encourage the population to trust health professionals", says the Bishop of Goma

Monday, 23 September 2019 ebola   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - " We are jubilant at the marvels of medical science in finding a vaccine to cure this deadly disease, but a cure brings no hope if fearful people have no trust in the health teams administering the drug. Without such work by the faith communities who have the trust of the local population, hundreds if not thousands more people will die of Ebola, and the disease could spread out of control", said His Exc. Mgr. Willy Ngumbi Ngenele, Bishop of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during a meeting of faith leaders on the Ebola epidemic that hit this area of the country. The health authorities of the DRC announced their intention to introduce a second experimental vaccine against Ebola, starting in mid-October.
Faith leaders expressed their concerns that past lessons from the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia had not been learnt.
"Here in DRC these lessons from the past are just starting to be realised. The Church was left on the sidelines at the start of the Ebola outbreak in August last year. We were not consulted right from the start. The result? Response teams have been attacked, even killed, and treatment centres burned down. We can play an essential role as faith leaders, in stemming the spread of this appalling disease", said Mgr. Ngumbi.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that as of 9 September 2019, the number of cases has reached more than 3,000, with 2,070 deaths, making the Ebola outbreak in DRC the second worst in history. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/9/2019)