Liberia Ebola outbreak

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Ebola Virus Confirmed in Liberia; ELWA Hospital Prepares

By: Robert Bogan, Web Content Manager, SIM USA

“As of today Liberia has 8 suspected cases of Ebola. Over the weekend several of those were confirmed, so we now have the Ebola virus in Liberia.”

-SIM Liberia, March 31, 2014

The ELWA Hospital Chapel in the process of being converted into an isolation ward

A deadly virus is sweeping across Guinea and Liberia. What has often been the topic of fictional thrillers is now a very real situation for people living in these two countries. SIM missionaries and our Liberian partners are preparing to respond to the spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia.

At this time, there are no cases of Ebola at ELWA Hospital, where SIM and Samaritan’s Purse partner to meet the medical needs of thousands of people in Liberia. However, the potential danger is very real, and the opportunity to respond to need is greater than ever.

“The risk that is being assessed at present is the likelihood of a case turning up at ELWA hospital,” says Helen Heron, the SIM International Personnel Director. “Isolation contingencies are being prepared in the hospital, and contingency plans made to evacuate those families with young children who are living at ELWA.”

The SIM team in Liberia has been vigilant, making and implementing contingency plans as the virus has spread. The outbreak began in Guinea, a country to the northwest of Liberia. More than 80 cases of Ebola have been confirmed in that country already, and as of April 1, some of the 8 suspected cases in Liberia were confirmed.

One such case involved a person who fled northern Liberia to a suburb of Monrovia. They were admitted to a hospital in Firestone, and later moved to their home for isolation. Unfortunately, this person was in contact with a number people before being placed in isolation. The Ministry of Health in Liberia is working to find those contacts now to prevent any further spread.

Dr Debbie Eisenhut training some of the ELWA medical staff in the correct procedures to use when treating patients with the Ebola Virus.

Dr. Debbie Eisenhut serves at ELWA as a Doctor and Health Coordinator. Today, Debbie needs prayer more than ever as she and Will Elphick, Director of SIM Liberia, work with the ELWA team to manage this difficult situation. Dr. Eisenhut has been training the staff at ELWA Hospital in the correct procedures for dealing with any suspected cases of Ebola that may arrive at the hospital.

“We continue to train people at the hospital. I have now trained 44 people… [We are] working hard to set up an isolation unit in the chapel,” Debbie shared.    

Samaritan’s Purse has provided needed equipment and have volunteered to send a pallet of additional equipment, air freighted from their headquarters in North Carolina, USA. We are very grateful for their support.

“At present we don’t have any suspected cases at ELWA Hospital but we are preparing for the possibility,” Will Elphick said, “We are setting up our isolation unit by using the Chapel and converting it so it can take a small number of cases. We are putting in separate sanitation, partitioning for male and female wards, and extra lighting. The ELWA Services Department is doing a great job in making all the changes and alterations to our facilities.”

Get Involved

PRAY

Join us in praying:

  • That God would bring healing and stop the spread of this deadly virus
  • That people would not panic, but instead be calm and cool-headed
  • For the leaders and government organizations involved in treating and preventing the spread of the virus
  • For protection, wisdom, and courage for our SIM members remaining at ELWA Hospital to help respond to this crisis, should it reach their area
  • That God would comfort the grief-stricken families who have lost loved ones to the virus
  • For strength and courage for the families evacuated from the country
  • For accurate reporting by the media, and good dissemination of advice for avoidance
  • That in this hard time people would seek God
Protective clothing and hand washing are essential if medical staff are going to protect themselves from the Ebola virus

GIVE

All the preparation and contingency renovations are also financially demanding on the hospital. If patients begin coming in, many of them may not be able to pay for the treatment.

Would you prayerfully consider partnering with SIM and ELWA Hospital to prepare for the potential spread of this deadly virus in their region?

To support the work of ELWA in this crisis and provide care to those who cannot afford to pay for treatment, give to the Hospital Benevolence Fund (#82876).

GO

At the present time, the ELWA Campus cannot receive any visitors, short-term teams, or short-term associates until the threat has passed. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers through this difficult time. 

 


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