Disaster Relief - 013310 International Crisis Response

Join us in the growing battle against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This article was originally published on Dec. 27 and was updated on Mar. 11.

We have expanded our ebola treatment center In response to a growing number of confirmed and suspected cases. We now have 10 beds available for confirmed cases and 26 more for suspected cases.

Samaritan’s Purse has opened a treatment center in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in response to an Ebola virus disease outbreak that has killed at least 578 people. This recent outbreak was declared Aug. 1 and is now the second deadliest in history.

Our medical team provides expert and compassionate clinical care for patients suffering with the deadly virus, which has a current fatality rate of about 60 percent. Supportive care and other interventions can decrease case mortality.

The center, part of our Emergency Field Hospital, was transported to Africa in November aboard our DC-8 cargo plane. It can be expanded to 54 beds, if needed.

A 21-member disaster assistance response team, left for the DRC on Dec. 26 and additional staff have since arrived in country. This deployment supports our local partners and staff in the DRC, as Samaritan’s Purse has operated a country office there for eight years.

Forty Samaritan’s Purse employees, including five Canadians, as well as 60 Congolese staff, are already on site at the Ebola Treatment Center. The team has been building isolation units at 15 health centers for Ebola patients so they can be treated without endangering other people.

All of these employees’ skills and experience are urgently needed to combat what has already become the world’s second-worst Ebola outbreak.

Samaritan’s Purse played a leading role during the 2014-2015 outbreak in Liberia and four other West African countries. We treated thousands of Ebola patients and led a massive public education program to warn people how highly contagious Ebola is so they could take precautions to avoid it.

We began a similar education program four months ago in the DRC, where Samaritan’s Purse has been operating for the past eight years. Our first focus has been on training and equipping local health workers to help them avoid contracting the virus while treating Ebola patients.

“We gained a lot of expertise in fighting Ebola from our time in Liberia,” says David Bock, Samaritan’s Purse Canada’s International Disaster Response Manager. “That knowledge and experience are making us more effective in helping the people of the DRC fight this very dangerous disease.”

As we address this very urgent need for help in the DRC, we are trusting God to give us opportunities to tell Ebola patients and the DRC medical staff that “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

Megan Vitek, program manager for Samaritan’s Purse’s international health unit, says: “Please pray for our team as they work tirelessly to set-up this treatment center and fight this disease with every patient they touch.”

We have also constructed five isolation centers and provided infection protection and control training for 20 local health centers.

Learning from Liberia

Our teams are well prepared, having received Ebola response training at our facilities in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Representatives from our 2014 Ebola response in Liberia were also involved in the training.

The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest on record. More than 11,300 people died as Ebola spread throughout Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Our work in Liberia—where Samaritan’s Purse has had a country office for 14 years—included providing clinical care, as well as campaigns focused on awareness and prevention.

Please pray for people suffering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Pray for Samaritan’s Purse staff as they serve with compassion in Jesus’ Name.

Disaster Relief - 013310 International Crisis Response

Samaritan's Purse responds to humanitarian crises with physical aid and a message of spiritual hope for victims of natural disasters, famine, poverty, and war. Your gift will allow us to share Jesus' love through clean water, food, shelter, medical supplies, personnel, and other aid.