As death count surpasses 300, Christian organization builds treatment centers, sends experts to help
CALGARY, Dec. 28, 2018 /CNW/ - About 300 people have died and at least 200 more are fighting for their lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), thanks to an outbreak of the highly contagious Ebola virus that Samaritan's Purse is doing all it can to stop.
About seven new cases of Ebola are being reported each day in the DRC, and the often-fatal virus is spreading into more areas of the impoverished African country.
Samaritan's Purse has almost completed constructing two Ebola treatment centers in the DRC. The non-profit Christian relief and development organization is also sending experienced medical specialists, including several from Canada, to help operate the centers alongside locally hired staff.
One Samaritan's Purse Canada employee is already in the DRC—building special isolation units so Ebola patients can be treated without endangering other patients—and more will arrive this week.
"The outbreak was centralized in one area, but it's now moved to another region and to a hospital we support in the country," said the Samaritan's Purse employee in the DRC, who must remain anonymous to protect his privacy and safety. There have been fear-driven attacks at Ebola patient transfer sites.
This Ebola outbreak is the second-most deadly ever recorded, after the especially tragic 2014-15 version that killed more than 11,000 people in Liberia and four other west African countries.
Samaritan's Purse played a leading role in bringing that outbreak under control in Liberia by treating Ebola victims and by training Liberians to protect themselves from the virus. Despite strict precautions, two Samaritan's Purse medical employees including Dr. Kent Brantly contracted Ebola, but survived.
"We gained a lot of expertise in fighting Ebola from our time in Liberia," said David Bock, Samaritan's Purse Canada's international disaster response manager. "That knowledge and experience is making us more effective in helping the people of the DRC fight this dangerous virus."
Education is a key part of the battle, and Samaritan's Purse is training and equipping DRC health staff to go into Ebola-infected communities to teach people about the dangers of the virus. The relief organization is doing similar work in South Sudan in case the DRC outbreak crosses the border.
News Media interview availability
Samaritan's Purse International Disaster Response Manager David Bock is available for interviews at 403-870-1595 (cell) or 1-800-663-6500.
To support Samaritan's Purse's medical relief efforts, please visit SamaritansPurse.ca (click on "Donate") or call 1-800-663-6500.
About Samaritan's Purse Canada
Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief and development organization that takes its name from Jesus Christ's biblical story of the Good Samaritan. Like that Good Samaritan, who found a beaten man and helped restore him, we aid victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. Besides medical relief, our work includes collecting and distributing gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, providing safe water, teaching vocational skills, and providing agricultural supplies and training to families in the developing world. Learn more at SamaritansPurse.ca.
SOURCE Samaritan's Purse Canada
For further information: News Media Inquiries: Frank King, News Media Relations Mgr., 403-990-0161, [email protected]