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article imageJehovah's Witnesses in fight against Ebola

By Kevin Jess     Oct 9, 2014 in Health
As Ebola continues to rage across West Africa, Jehovah's Witnesses have continued to educate their members on safe practices and guidelines to fight the dreaded disease.
According to a World Health Organization report dated October 1, 2014, there have been 7,178 cases reported and more than 3,300 victims have died in the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and the numbers are expected to increase.
According to a news release from Jehovah's Witnesses, "of the 2,800 Witnesses in Guinea and Sierra Leone, one female Witness who was a nurse contracted the Ebola virus and died on September 25, 2014. Of the 6,365 Witnesses in Liberia, 10 have died as a result of the disease; 6 were health workers."
Jehovah's Witnesses have been proactive in dealing with the crisis. When they first learned of the disease spreading from Guinea to Liberia and Sierra Leone, letters were sent to branch offices in the region and from there to every congregation detailing the dangers of the disease as well as guidelines and suggestions provided by local government agencies.
Collin Attick, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sierra Leone said in the news release, “Being in an area where medical diseases are not well understood and where false rumors about the source of Ebola were widespread, many people were initially confused about what to do, but when our congregation members heard the instructions at their Kingdom Hall, they responded promptly and positively.”
Hand washing stations were set up in every congregation for members to disinfect before entering and many members have set up their own at home.
Thomas Nyain, Sr., spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Liberia said, “As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we also avoid unscriptural burial practices. This is proving to be a protection for all of our members, especially during this critical time.”
Ebola victims are at their most contagious in the moments and even days after their death. According to Time, the traditional burial practice of mourners in Liberia involves bathing, dressing and even kissing the corpse. This practice has been credited with the early explosion of Ebola cases in the country.
A local radio station in Sierra Leone outlined how Jehovah's Witnesses have helped their members as well as non members to avoid the disease and the authorities have asked the witnesses relief agency to help government agencies in the region.
According to the Liberian Gender Minister, the Ministry is now carrying out a 'Jehovah Witness' campaign to combat the Ebola virus, reports allAfrica.
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