Church leaders in Ebola-affected Sierra Leone and Liberia have been playing a vital role in helping people to stay safe, Christian relief and development agency Tearfund has said.
According to Patricia Conteh, projects officer for Tearfund in Sierra Leone, Tearfund partners have found that, because church leaders are widely trusted, they can use church services and other gatherings to help people understand how to stop the spread of Ebola.
She said, ‘The rate of infection increases every day and there is now very minimal interaction. We do not hug, we do not shake hands, we do not have contact. The church is strategically placed to help, because people take what the pastor says and act on it. The church has a big role in this fight and needs to keep being proactive’.
Rev. Jonathan Titus-Williams, general secretary for Tearfund’s partner the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone, said, ‘People are responding positively to the work these pastors are doing, as in most communities in this country people have trust and respect for religious leaders’.
Similar work is being done in neighbouring Liberia by Tearfund’s partner the Association of Evangelicals of Liberia, and in Mali by partner Association Protestante de la Santé au Mali.