Church leaders in West Africa have asked for our prayers as the Ebola virus continues to spread, with 932 reported deaths as we go to press.
Please make use of the prayer we have written – see below.
Ebola is spreading in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and threatening other countries in West Africa.
The people of Ghana are becoming increasingly aware of the epidemic.
We are in contact with our Anglican partners throughout the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA), which includes The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana.
Janette O’Neill, Us Chief Executive, said: ‘This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. When communities face such terrible suffering the church must be there to combat fear and hopelessness with both love and tangible support.
‘The church can also be a source of knowledge to help families understand the situation, and the church can help to make sure governments are fully aware of what is happening at community level.’
Read on here. There are prayers too:
Prayers for West Africa:
God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful Father,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.
God of healing,
whose Son healed those who were brought to him.
Hear our prayer for the peoples of West Africa
suffering from the Ebola outbreak.
Inspire and enable your church
to be a source of healing, comfort and hope to those affected,
and an agent for the education
and equipping of communities
to stop the spread of this disease.
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
A person in a hooded white protective suit with was helped out of an ambulance by a person in heavier protective gear on Saturday at the Atlanta hospital where an American doctor who contracted Ebola while working with a charity organization in Liberia arrived for treatment Saturday afternoon. Dr. Kent Brantly — the first person infected with Ebola on U.S. soil — landed at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia, in a plane specially outfitted with containment equipment. Dobbins Air Reserve base Spokesman Lt. Col James Wilson said the arrival and transfer was “uneventful.”
He was immediately transported by ambulance to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to the Christian charity organization Samaritan’s Purse. Emory has prepared a special isolation unit with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and said they are equipped to care for Brantly. Nancy Writebol, a second American infected with the deadly disease will be evacuated from Liberia and placed in the same “hospital isolation unit” with Brantly, Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory, told NBC News. Writebol remains in serious but stable condition, according to SIM, the Christian mission organization that she works with.
“The patients will be escorted throughout by specially and frequently trained teams that have sufficient resources to transport the patients so that there is no break in their medical care or exposure to others,” the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement. Ebola has infected more than 1,300 people and killed 729 of them in the current West African outbreak, according to the CDC.
Please pray for Dr Kent Brantly as he battles this deadly virus.
Dr. Kent Brantly is fighting for his life after being infected with the Ebola virus while working with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. The doctor is listed in grave condition but remains hopeful that God will deliver him from the disease’s grip.
“God’s going to deliver me from this but even if he doesn’t, I have lived my life for him and I have no regrets,” Brantly told Kent Smith, an elder at the South Central Alliance Churches in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It’s a very stressful time,” Brantly’s mother, Jan, told Daily Mail. “Kent is a fine young man, very compassionate, doing what he’s prepared all his life to do. He’s placed his life in the hands of a loving God and our love in that God that sustains us. We pray constantly for him and we solicit the prayer of the whole world. He’s a brave man. He’s doing what he’s doing to serve his God and we are asking people to pray.”
Brantly and wife Amber were working as medical missionaries in Liberia; she recently returned to the states with their two children for a planned visit with family. He has remained in Liberia, where he is receiving medical treatment.
“I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email to Dr. David Mcray, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital, where Brantly completed a four-year residency. He also asked for prayers for Nancy Writebol, an American co-worker who has also been affected by the disease.
“Kent prepared himself to be a lifetime medical missionary,” Jan told the Associated Press. “His heart is in Africa.”
An investigation is currently being held in order to determine how Brantly contacted the disease, which is spread through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids as well as indirect contact with “environments contaminated with such fluids,” according to the World Health Organization.
A poignant story of faith, hope and medicine from the Wall Street Journal:
Cast out from her family, Tigist arrived at Ethiopia’s Entoto Mountain believing that a spring here welled with holy water that would rid her body of HIV.
Joining 4,000 other squatters seeking the same cure, the young woman reluctantly also started taking antiretroviral pills. Gaining strength, she married an HIV-positive man, Melaku, and started a new life in a mud-and-tarp hut amid eucalyptus forests.
The journey of Tigist and Melaku is emblematic of a shift in Ethiopia, where about 1.2 million people live with HIV/AIDS, among the most of any country. The country’s traditional and often superstitious views toward AIDS commonly lead to exile for the disease’s sufferers. But modern methods are gaining more purchase, in recent years resulting in a greater number of Ethiopians on antiretroviral therapy and a decline in AIDS-related deaths.
In the 1990s, as the AIDS epidemic swept through sub-Saharan Africa, fear of disease coupled with misconceptions about how AIDS spreads fostered discrimination against HIV-positive people. Grappling with a surge in ailing parishioners, many priests goaded sufferers to seek refuge and cure at places like Entoto, which soars north of the capital, Addis Ababa.
Many Christian Orthodox Ethiopians, who represent the largest religious group, believe in the power of holy water. Ethiopian church writings say Entoto’s has the power to exorcise demons.
Tigist agreed to try antiretrovirals.
It was five years ago when Melaku, a short, slight man now 30 years old, learned he was HIV positive. Telling his family only that he was moving close to the country’s capital to find work, he hasn’t returned since.
“Only God will never hate me because of this virus,” Melaku said, sipping black coffee and pecking at popcorn in the one-room shack he rents with Tigist.
At dawn each day, he descended a steep ravine and lined up naked at a natural pool. Priests clutching crosses would pour water six times over the people, who usually also drink about a gallon of the water each day as a tonic.
Melaku remembers many people dying in his first few years on the mountain. “I tried to have faith in the holy water,” he says.
He met Tigist, now 26, whose family had sent her to Entoto after she visited a clinic and learned she was HIV-positive. At the mountain, she joined the people walking a mile to reach the pool each morning. She became more ill, vomiting the holy water.
About four years ago, when Melaku brought her to a hospital, a nurse told Tigist she needed to take drugs regularly to regain her strength. She initially declined.
With Melaku’s encouragement, she augmented the holy water with antiretroviral therapy, a combination of drugs that suppress the HIV and impede the disease from progressing.
Feeling stronger, the couple said their vows in a small ceremony.
That marked one of the victories in a global anti-AIDS push of free drugs, educational campaigns and clinics. In 2003, then-U.S. President George W. Bush poured billions of dollars into getting antiretroviral drugs to millions of Africans.
A group of Italians has been arrested for passing off ordinary tap water as a “miracle cure” for cancer and other diseases.
The group sold flasks of the ‘White Light’ water for up to 200 euros, claiming that it had been collected from “holy springs” at pilgrimage sites such as Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal.
The syndicate was allegedly led by a 71-year-old biologist and three people who falsely claimed to be doctors.
They preyed on the gullibility and desperation of around 500 people who were suffering from incurable diseases, with some ‘patients’ travelling long distances to visit their ‘clinics’.
Customers were told to take a few drops of the water three times a day and assured that it would heal them of any malady.
The pseudoscientific advertising for the product, which was mixed in with spurious religious references, claimed: “White Light is the only water to contain the seven frequencies of the seven colours of the rainbow and the three fundamental energies – polarised, electrical and magnetic.”
Police arrested 39 people in Milan and Venice and in the Adriatic ports of Bari and Ancona, and seized 4,000 flasks of the water.
They are accused of fraud, conspiracy, personal injury and wrongful practice.
As Ugandans celebrated Christmas and New Year, most people in the northern parts of the country were seeking answers about a mysterious disease that has mainly affected children.The head nodding disease which mostly attacks children aged between five and 15 has killed over 50 children in the last three months alone.
“The major symptom of the disease is the continuous nodding of the head” said community officer Jacob Okello.
“Over 2400 children in the districts of northern Uganda are suffering from the disease.
“Some of the victims faint after several minutes from the continuous head nodding”.
There are fears that the little known disease might escalate into an outbreak amid admissions by authorities that they have no knowledge of the ailment.
“The nodding disease which is at times called the nodding syndrome is a little known disease in Uganda,” said Gregory Obulu, a medical officer in northern Uganda.
“It is alleged that it even hit South Sudan in the 1980’s.”
According to Obulu, some health workers have associated the disease with epilepsy.
Joseph Wamala, an official at Uganda’s epidemic and surveillance department of the Ministry of Health said the nodding disease could be a new type of epilepsy.
He said it could be associated with a parasitic worm known as Onchocerca Volvulus, which is also known to cause river blindness.
“Studies are being carried out to get facts on that” Obulu said. ..