GOMA, SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 (CISA)– Bishop Willy Ngumbi of the Catholic Diocese of Goma, has underscored the importance of involving the Church in the fight against Ebola, saying that it will help establish trust between the affected and the health teams thus facilitating treatment and prevention.
“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,” he said.
The prelate was speaking at the September 11-12 faith leaders meeting in Goma, to discuss the Ebola epidemic and its effect on DRC and the international community ,where the leaders acknowledged the ability of the Church to access areas that government and international NGOs are not able to and persuade local communities to bring forward victims, respect instructions of the Ebola response teams, and to accept the vaccines that have been developed.
The leaders expressed concern that past lessons from the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia had not been learnt – which is to involve faith and traditional leaders from the outset, to build and reinforce trust.
“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 Bishop Ngumbi.
According to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO), from 9 – 15 September, 51 new confirmed cases, with an additional 26 deaths, have been reported from nine health zones in three affected provinces in DRC, while by September 9, the number of cases had exceeded 3,000, with 2,070 deaths.