While the major governments of the world seem slowly to be responding to the devastating effects of Ebola in West Africa*, PRIME’s links to friends in Sierra Leone have brought home the tragedy of their intense suffering at a personal level.
Olivet Buck, a prominent doctor in Freetown and Secretary of the Christian Medical Association of Health Workers brought her wisdom and radiant faith to our Annual Conference in March. More recently she has been one of just 2 local doctors struggling in the Lumley Government Hospital outside the city to serve patients stricken with Ebola. When Sierra Leonese government ran out of protective gloves Olivet continued her compassionate care anyway. At the end of last week tests showed that she was positive for the virus, and while strenuous efforts were made to treat her, she died on Saturday night – leaving behind her husband, 4 children and a devastated, overwhelmed medical community.
Olivet’s story is tragic, but it is also far from unique. In the affected areas hundreds of healthcare workers have died over the past six months through lack of equipment and personnel. In Sierra Leone alone four of the 50 specialist medical physicians and over 60 nursing staff have died. Their help has been given to their neighbours at the highest level of personal sacrifice. The remaining healthcare personnel are fearful and somewhat forgotten. Some face being ostracized by their friends and communities.
The UK government has made definite moves toward sending aid, but as quoted from the UN on-line today* the spread of the disease means the funds needed to fight the outbreak have increased 10-fold in the past month to over £600m. The US and China are now on the move, but the pace of giving help needs rapidly to increase.
Please would you pray with us for Olivet and those close to her, joining all our prayers for those seeking to stem the unimaginable havoc being wreaked by Ebola; and would you consider signing the petition attached to spur the response of governments here and abroad to the massive, innovative action needed to rescue dying people and potentially a world threat.