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TEARFUND MOBILISES FAITH LEADERS AS YEAR-LONG DRC EBOLA OUTBREAK NAMED GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY

01 Aug 2019

The World Health Organisation recently (17th July) declared the current outbreak of Ebola in the DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Recent figures (24 July) put the figure now at 5,597 cases. Tearfund is working with communities affected in the east of the country. 

Hebdavi Muhindo, Tearfund’s Programmes Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo, says: ‘We remain committed to the communities we are working with to address ongoing needs both during and after this outbreak has ended. The Ebola outbreak presents us with yet another layer of complication and is painful for everyone involved. Even without Ebola, the challenges facing people here can seem insurmountable. Now, it’s more important than ever that we build up trust and work together. 

It will take the whole community working together to bring this to an end. As well as faith leaders we have been bringing together representatives from across Butembo society to discuss the issues facing the community and improve dialogue and trust so that Ebola prevention messages and practices can be more readily accepted. 

Pastors are spreading vital advice on washing hands, seeking medical help at the first sign of symptoms, and issuing guidelines on how to handle dead bodies, to curb the spread of disease. Communities are rallying - some congregations are coming together to buy enough bleach for everyone in their church to maintain hygiene and where we can, we continue to provide better access to clean water. 

Our hope is that this outbreak of Ebola will be halted soon. We strongly believe that faith leaders have an important role to play in ending this epidemic and we will continue to work with them to bring information, resources and comfort to those people who are hardest hit by Ebola.’

Notes to Editors

  1. For interviews with Hebdavi Muhindo or more information please contact Sarah Baldwin on 07776 211 518 or sarah.baldwin@tearfund.org. For out of hours media enquiries please call 07498 540276
  2.  Tearfund has been working in the DRC for over 30 years, since 1987, working with local partners on a range of projects.

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