Faith leaders fight Ebola through community engagement
IMA in-country partner Tearfund is working with religious leaders from Catholic and Protestant churches to engage their respective congregations in the fight against Ebola.
The Anglican bishop, along with dozens of other religious leaders, convened a day of awareness and cooperation, engaging more than 340 congregations in the city of Butembo. T-shirts, banners and flyers were distributed while locally-produced songs touted the importance of joining together to confront this deadly disease.
Monseigneur Sikuli Paluku, the Catholic bishop of Butembo, convened parish priests from Beni-Butembo-Katwa to promote the importance of “safe and dignified burials,” which allow family members of Ebola victims to see the deceased before they are buried in an identifiable grave.
Cultural traditions in the region, such as the ritual washing and touching of corpses of family members, has been a significant cause of viral transmission. The bishop advocated the need to allow Ebola response teams to test the deceased with rapid swab tests before burial. His instructions have had a significant impact in increasing community cooperation with Ebola response teams.