Ebola: The Church's response

2014-08-28 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) As West Africa battles an Ebola epidemic that has already killed 1,400 people, a top American health official has said that the virus at this point has the “upper hand” but he added that experts have the tools to stop it.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made the comments on the same day as the President of one of the most affected countries, Liberia fired all Cabinet ministers and other top officials who defied her order to return to the country as it struggles to deal with the outbreak.

Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Monsignor Robert Vitillo, who heads the Geneva UN delegation for Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic aid organization. 

The United Nations recently held a meeting in Geneva  to discuss the epidemic.  Among those attending was Monsignor Robert Vitillo, who heads the Geneva UN delegation for Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic aid organization. 

Speaking to Vatican Radio about the Church’s response to the epidemic, he stressed the importance of education in countries severely affected by the virus.

“The Catholic Church is stressing through Caritas and other religious orders and other Catholic organizations is very active in terms of educating people about the risks of Ebola and also on the best ways to prevent infection and helping them especially find culturally appropriate ways to deal with the illness and especially to bury those who of died without exposing themselves to greater risk of infection.”

Asked about the level information or indeed misinformation out there about Ebola, Monsignor Vitillo says “the fact is that the greatest risk is not by travelling, but rather the greatest risk is to family members and people in close contact with those who are infected including healthcare workers.”

From a human perspective he also underlines how important it is, when treating patients, to address the emotional issues while continuing to enforce the regulations needed to insure good public health.

 

(From archive of Vatican Radio)