Category : Liberia

Great WSJ piece on how a Liberian Rubber Farm Became a Sanctuary Against Ebola

One morning in March, when the first case arrived at the Liberian unit of Japan’s Bridgestone Corp… managers sat around a rubber-tree table and googled “Ebola,” said Ed Garcia, president of Firestone Natural Rubber Company LLC. Then they built two Ebola isolation clinics, using shipping containers and plastic wrap. They trained their janitors how to bury Ebola corpses. Their agricultural surveyors mapped the virus as it spread house to house, and teachers at the company’s schools went door-to-door to explain the disease.

“It was like flying an airplane and reading the manual at the same time,” said Philippines-born Mr. Garcia, who runs this 185-square-mile stretch of rubber trees.

Six months later, Firestone has turned the tide of infections, offering a sanctuary of health in a country where cases are doubling every three weeks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Health & Medicine, Liberia

(Globe and Mail) In Liberia, Ebola threat prompts Red Cross to remove all bodies, infected or not

When the body collectors arrived at the home of Theresa Jacob, at the top of a rocky hillside in Liberia’s capital, her family fought to keep her body. She didn’t die of Ebola, they insisted, showing a stack of hospital documents.

It was a futile battle. After a long argument, a team of Red Cross specialists entered the house in full Hazmat suits, goggles, masks, hoods, boots and two layers of gloves. They disinfected the body of the 24-year-old woman with a heavy chlorine spray, put her into a body bag, carried her down the hillside to their truck and drove her away to be cremated.

Because of the risk of Ebola, every body in Monrovia now is collected and burned, regardless of the cause of death. It’s a symptom of a nearly collapsed state in a massive emergency, when extraordinary measures are needed. With at least 1,830 deaths by official count ”“ and two or three times that number by unofficial estimate ”“ Liberia is the most devastated country in the Ebola zone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Liberia

(Post-Gazette) Ebola, the scorecard The virus is winning as the world plays catch up

It’s nine months into the biggest Ebola outbreak in history, and the situation is going from bad to worse. The outbreak simmered slowly in West Africa from December, when the first case was retrospectively documented, through March, when it was first recognized by international authorities. Now, terms like “exponential spread” are being thrown around.

Already, the number of cases (about 5,800 as of Sept. 22) and deaths (2,800) has dwarfed the numbers from every reported Ebola outbreak in history. And the case count is doubling every three weeks. Here’s where we stand….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

SIM Calls for a Week of Prayer for Ebola Crisis (Sept 29 – Oct 5) and launches #PraytoendEbola

[color=red]This post is sticky look for new entries below[/color]

For more info: PraytoendEbola website and #PraytoendEbola and Pray to End Ebola on Facebook. Lent & Beyond is posting daily Ebola Crisis Prayers.

SIM, a Christian mission organization which has been on the frontlines of the fight against Ebola in West Africa has called for a special week of intercessory prayer, urging Christians around the world to join together in prayer against the Ebola outbreak that is ravaging West Africa. Here is an excerpt from their exhortation to prayer:

[blockquote]The fight against Ebola in West Africa has been going on since the beginning of 2014. As the final quarter of the year approaches, the spread of this deadly disease is escalating out of control. The infection rate and death toll continue to rise; hundreds of health workers serving on the front lines to fight the disease have been taken by it; and the resources brought to bear still pale in comparison to the desperate needs. What seems to us to be a desperate situation is not impossible for God. May our prayers be heard and used by God to accomplish the impossible.

Therefore, as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, let us join together around the world for a full week of focused prayer beginning September 29 through October 5. Our desire is for prayers to be raised continually on behalf of those infected and affected by the Ebola virus, for the sick and dying, for the courageous health workers, for grieving families, for pastors trying to serve their churches and communities, for government officials and decision makers who formulate policies and responses, for protection for those working in educating communities, and for all those waking up each day to the devastation of Ebola.

Though we are troubled, we do not despair. Though we grieve, we are not without great hope. For two millennia, the Church has prioritized the sick and marginalized. We are called to do no less today.[/blockquote]
[blockquote]May the God who answers prayer, the God to whom we pray, the God who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death so that we may fear no evil, may this God turn His face towards us and by His power and wisdom guiding all those involved, bring an end to the spread of Ebola. May He bring many who live without the knowledge of Jesus into relationship with Him. Updated prayer requests and other resources can be found at www.praytoendEbola.org . [/blockquote]

Please read the full details at the PraytoendEbola website. Please note if you scroll down to the bottom of the home page of the Pray to End Ebola website, there is a place to sign up for regular prayer updates via email. There will also be updates on Twitter: #PraytoendEbola. Lent & Beyond is posting daily Ebola prayers using the Ebola Crisis Prayers tag.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spirituality/Prayer

(Bloomberg) Ebola Worst-Case Scenario Has More Than 500,000 Cases

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could spread to hundreds of thousands more people by the end of January, according to an estimate under development by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that puts one worst-case scenario at 550,000 or more infections.

The report, scheduled to be released next week, was described by two people familiar with its contents who asked to remain anonymous because it isn’t yet public.

The projection, which vastly outstrips previous estimates, is under review by researchers and may change. It assumes no additional aid or intervention by governments and relief agencies, which are mobilizing to contain the Ebola outbreak before it spirals further out of control in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

(South Carolina Minister) Anthony Kowbeidu fears for family in Ebola-stricken homeland

From his own wallet, Kowbeidu also supports his siblings and obsesses over spending his money on Western luxuries. After Valerie threw him a 50th birthday party, he made her promise no more. That money could help Liberian children attend school, as he received help.

“I am here because of God’s generosity through God’s people,” he says. “From whence I came, I pray I never forget.”

That’s largely what made him run for Mount Pleasant Town Council last year, he says.

“This country has given me more than I could have imagined,” he says. “I want to give back.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Africa, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Parish Ministry, Theology

(BBC) Ebola crisis: Liberia 'faces huge surge' says WHO

Ebola is spreading exponentially in Liberia, with thousands of new cases expected in the next three weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Conventional methods to control the outbreak were “not having an adequate impact”, the UN’s health agency added.

At least 2,100 people infected with Ebola have died so far in the West African states of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Liberia, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Theology

A look at the rise in Ebola cases since June 2014

A T19 reader did some number crunching and kindly sent us the following chart showing the cumulative number of Ebola cases in each affected country since June 4, 2014. Data is compiled from the WHO disease outbreak reports. – the elves

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

[Economist] Ebola: Fever Rising

[i]Given the discussion about Ebola in the current open thread, this article from the Economist may be of interest. The graphs comparing Ebola with other diseases in West Africa, and per capita health spending in various countries are worth looking at. – the elves.[/i]

Ebola is now exposing how hard it is to contain an outbreak, particularly in poor countries. Stopping Ebola should, in theory, be straightforward. There is no cure, but there are ways to treat victims that will maximise their chance of survival and help prevent transmission. Patients should be isolated and kept hydrated, their blood pressure monitored and secondary infections treated. Those who have come into contact with the infected should be watched to see if symptoms develop. If none emerge within 21 days, the person can be deemed virus-free.

But all this is labour-intensive. “You still have to have a cadre of people who at the end of the day are able to go out there,” explains Ian Lipkin of Columbia University. That depends on strong health systems or substantial international help. In this case, there was neither.

The outbreak began in three of the world’s poorest countries. Guinea spends $62 per person on health each year, compared with $3,364 in Britain. Sierra Leone has two doctors per 100,000 people, compared with 245 in America (see chart). Such health workers as are available in the countries affected by Ebola are under severe strain. About 150 have been infected and 80 have died, the WHO said on August 8th. Médecins Sans Frontières, a non-profit organisation that has 680 health workers in the region, now says that its staff “simply cannot do more”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

(Reuters) West Africans fill churches to pray for deliverance from Ebola

People in Sierra Leone and Liberia filled churches on Sunday to seek deliverance from an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, defying official warnings to avoid public gatherings to contain an epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa.

With their creaking healthcare systems completely overrun, Sierra Leone and Liberia have both declared states of emergency to tackle the highly contagious and incurable disease, which has also stricken neighbouring Guinea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sierra Leone, Spirituality/Prayer

The Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, calls for perspective in Ebola Outbreak

From the calls I got through the night, it’s a revelation that people fear Ebola more than God….! Nobody calls me frantically for Godly things….
Ebola brings death surely, but surely God gives life by grace through faith In Jesus!

(From his Facebook page)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Gambia, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Psychology, Sierra Leone, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(We are Us[Formerly USPG]) Churches in West Africa call for prayer as Ebola virus spreads

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….[Here is one]:

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Admin, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Featured (Sticky), Gambia, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Spirituality/Prayer

(BBC) Summit to discuss Ebola emergency starts

Global health experts at the World Health Organization are meeting to discuss new measures to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

The meeting – being held in Geneva, Switzerland – is expected to last two days and will decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

That could involve imposing travel restrictions on affected areas.

The outbreak began last February and has since spread to four African countries, claiming nearly 900 lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Globalization, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Pastoral Theology, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Theology

(HS Today) Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History Could Spread to US

Now recognized as the largest Ebola outbreak in history, the most recent eruption of the disease in three countries in West Africa — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — has claimed more than 670 victims, spurring international concern that the disease is only a plane ride away from spreading to other countries, including the United States.

“Our government has declared this now as a humanitarian crisis that is above the control of the national government,” Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia’s assistant minister of health, told CBS News, adding that, “This virus, if it is not taken care of, will be a global pandemic.” Nyenswah is calling for more international aid to stop the spreading of the disease.

With no cure and a mortality rate as high as 90 percent, the Ebola epidemic serves as a grim reminder that even with the advent of modern medicine, the spread of deadly infectious diseases is not relegated to history.

Read it all.

Update: In the span of four days, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa claimed 57 more lives and has resulted in 122 new cases says the WSJ–read it all also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Theology

(Globe and Mail) Lorna Dueck–Liberia proves the power of prayer

Sometimes there is an opportunity to document that the power of God is real. The sentencing of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor Wednesday for war crimes in Sierra Leone is one such case. “God willing, I will be back,” Mr. Taylor said in a dramatic moment as he left peace negotiations in 2003. It was his response as BBC News announced that he was to be arrested for crimes against humanity.

God willing, Mr. Taylor is back. Prosecutors in The Hague have called for a sentence of 80 years in prison following his conviction last month for murder, rape, enslavement, recruiting child soldiers, pillage, acts of terrorism and other atrocities committed in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002. His conviction may change African leadership forever, and Wednesday’s sentencing is a watershed moment.

Behind it all is an almost forgotten women’s movement of prayer that refused to let Mr. Taylor ignore the suffering he was inflicting. Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a 2008 film by Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker that documents this Liberian prayer activism. It shows how broken, war-weary women received divine strength as they gathered in Monrovia’s fish market in 2002 to pray for peace. They dressed in emulation of the Hebrew Bible’s Queen Esther, who mourned as she prayed God would save her people’s lives….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Law & Legal Issues, Liberia, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

Bishop Edward Neufville RIP

Bishop Neufville was a product of Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University), where he took his undergraduate degree and later his Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology.
He served as priest of St. Martin on the Mountain in Yekepa, Nimba County. During his tenure in Yekepa, he had oversight for the construction of St. Valentine Episcopal Church in Sanniquellie, the Nimba capital.
He was later appointed archdeacon of the church’s Northern Archdeaconry, serving Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Death / Burial / Funerals, Liberia, Parish Ministry

Notable and Quotable: Remembering George Way Harley (1894-1966)

George Harley was a medical doctor from the USA who went as a missionary to Liberia with his pregnant wife. He had obtained his medical degree from Yale University and his Ph.D. in tropical diseases from the University of London. He served in a remote jungle area, which he reached after walking seventeen days with his pregnant wife. After five years there no one had responded to the gospel. Every week they met for worship, and the people were invited to come, but no African joined them. Then his son died. He himself had to make the coffin and carry it to the place of burial. He was all alone there except for one African who had come to help him.

As Harley was shoveling soil onto the casket, he was overcome with grief, and he buried his head in the fresh dirt and sobbed. The African who was watching all this raised the doctor’s head by the hair and looked into his face for a long time. Then he ran into the village crying, “White man, white man, he cry like one of us.” At the following Sunday service the place was packed with Africans.

Harley served in Liberia for thirty-five years. His achievements in numerous fields are amazing. He produced the first accurate map of Liberia. He was given the highest award Liberia could bestow. But before all that he had to give his son. When a bishop from his Methodist denomination pointed that out to him, his response, referring to God, was, “he had a boy too, you know.”

–From Ajith Fernando, The Call to Joy and Pain: Embracing Suffering in Your Ministry (Crossway, 2007), pp.96-97; and brought to mind because Bishop Mark Lawrence related this story in yesterday’s confirmation sermon at Christ Saint Paul’s, Yonges Island, South Carolina

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Liberia, Missions