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Ebola virus

September 2014

Nearly 1000 people have died as a result of the deadly Ebola virus, an outbreak which has spread across Africa and into Saudi Arabia.

According to charity Compassion, many cases have been confirmed in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Compassion works in three countries in Western Africa: Togo, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Although there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in these three countries, Ghanaian authorities confirmed they have tested blood samples from a man from Burkina Faso, who died from Ebola-like symptoms while being transported to hospital in the Upper East region of Ghana. 

Because the disease has no known cure, and there is widespread fear among African communities that the virus is caused by witchcraft, government conspiracy or even foreign medicine, there is a huge need for education, Compassion says.

Compassion staff in the three closest field offices to the latest outbreak are delivering education information and awareness

training for church partners. They, in turn, are educating and equipping caregivers and children on Ebola awareness and prevention. In Ghana, this training includes information on cholera prevention. 

Sidney Musivo, Compassion regional vice-president for the Africa region, said, ‘While the Ebola virus is one of the most deadly diseases, it is relatively easy to contain by curtailing the infection cycle.

‘Nonetheless, we must keep in mind that between 470,000 and 790,000 children in Africa still die every year due to malaria, even though it is a relatively easier disease to contain’.