2014-10-09 10:34:00

Ebola: The plight of people in Liberia

(Vatican Radio) The West African nation of Liberia is one of the countries that has been hit hardest by the Ebola epidemic.

The crisis facing the country has prompted the US to send 100 Marines with helicopters and other transportation to help the military get to locations around the country and help with the Ebola fight.

Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Monsignor Robert Vitillo Special Advisor on Health for Caritas Internationalis

According to the World Health Organisation over 3,800 people have died as a result of Ebola, most of them in Liberia. These latest figures come as the United Nations announced on Wednesday that a medical official with the U.N. Mission in Liberia had tested positive for the Ebola virus and is receiving treatment.

In light of the situation in Liberia, what is the Church doing to help combat the virus?

Monsignor Robert Vitillo Special Advisor on Health for Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s aid organization has just returned from a visit to the country.

There’s “great fear among the people about this situation and the suffering that so many people have in terms of having lost relatives and not knowing who’s helping and who’s not helping”, he said

Monsignor Vitillo goes on to say that due to the sheer numbers of people needing treatment, the hospitals dealing with the virus can’t cope with the demand, “and so you still have people for instance in Monrovia wandering around the city in Taxis already showing symptoms and yet not being about the get the care and returning home where they put their relatives at risk aswell.”

He also makes the point that because health services are focusing their attention on the virus, people with other health problems are not the getting help they need. The Catholic Church has 17 health facilities in the country of which 14 have remained open. Outlining the programmes the Catholic Church is working on to raise awareness of the disease, Monsignor Vitillo said that teams are going out and “instructing people at parish level and at household level” He added that “people trust Churches, people are faith filled in Liberia for the most part and so that message that’s brought by the Church is much more effective…”





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