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Is the end of Ebola in sight?

The spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Guinea is starting to slow, says BMS doctor Eric Bafende

 
A cold-blooded killer, Ebola has claimed over 9,000 lives across West Africa since the outbreak began in December 2013. Thirteen months later, a BMS World Mission doctor serving in Guinea says that the number of new Ebola cases is decreasing and that he hopes to see the epidemic end within the next six months.

The Ebola outbreak started in a remote Guinean village, when two-year-old Emile began suffering from a fever, headache and diarrhoea. In a matter of days, he, his three-year-old sister and his pregnant mother were all dead (source: BBC). Ebola then spread across Guinea and into neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone. More than a year on, the World Health Organisation estimates that 1,995 people in Guinea have died as a result of the epidemic.

But BMS doctor Eric Bafende, who is serving in Guinea, is hopeful that Ebola is finally being brought under control. “At the moment in Guinea, it seems that new cases of Ebola are decreasing,” he says. “I think that everybody – the authorities, the international community – is doing well to try to stop Ebola. Some villages are still resistant, but people are working on that.
 
“I am hopeful that within six months it is possible that Ebola can be stopped in Guinea.”
 
At the time of the outbreak, Eric was serving as director of the Medical Centre in Macenta, Guinea, and, thanks to your gifts, BMS was able to give a grant of £12,000 to help with the hospital’s response. This funded support for vulnerable patients, triage for suspected cases and protective clothing for those helping to fight the disease.

Items the grant paid for, such as gloves, soap and chloride solution, may sound rather basic, but they have made a massive difference to the health workers serving those potentially suffering from Ebola in Macenta. They have created a protective barrier between infected patients and the hospital staff, reducing the risk of spreading the deadly virus.
 
“It’s a simple thing, but it’s very important,” says Eric. “And it’s working. In Macenta there is a public hospital, and since the outbreak started they have lost at least ten healthcare workers. But in our medical centre we lost none. So just a simple thing can make a difference.
 
“I am grateful to all the people who gave money to try to stop Ebola,” Eric continues. “And I am grateful for BMS, because the money came to us directly on the ground, where we are fighting.”
 
Eric and his wife Sarah returned to the UK for the birth of their second son, Joachim, last year, but are now back in Guinea, serving with BMS. 
 
Guinea is a Muslim-majority county. It ranks 179 out of 187 countries on the UN’s human development index and 47 per cent of its population live below the poverty line. Eric and Sarah have relocated to Labe, a new location for BMS in Guinea, to pioneer our work there. Eric will be leading a growing BMS team in the city, and our work will include community development, PEPE preschool projects, teaching English and skills training.
 
Please pray for an end to Ebola in West Africa, for the health workers treating those infected, and for the post-Ebola work with the thousands affected by this horrific epidemic.
 
Please pray for Eric, Sarah, Gabriel and Joachim.

“Pray for us, that we settle well,” says Eric. “There’s a great opportunity in Guinea, and the place we are is where we need to be.”


Photo credit: European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department


This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission 







 

BMS World Mission, 13/02/2015
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