Council Resources

Joint press release: BROTHERS OF EBOLA - Listening to the most affected communities


Listening to the most affected communities

DOKITA Volunteer Association non-profit
Caritas Italian
Fatebenefratelli - Hospitaller Order of St. John of God
CUAMM - Doctors with Africa
Focsiv - Volunteers in the world
AVSI Foundation - ONG NGOs
Giuseppini del Murialdo Salesian Xavier
of Don Bosco
VIS- International Volunteering for Development


Tuesday 21 October 2014 - 11.00 am
Piazza della Maddalena 53, Rome
at the Generalate of the Camillian Religious


to give space to the voices of those who live and work alongside local communities and to launch a unique appeal in order to increase attention and awareness of this emergency, asking in the words of Pope Francis to civil society, the government and the ecclesial community of not having "fear of fragility" and of listening to the victims for a more adequate response to the emergency.

Listening to fight Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - three of the poorest countries in the world - alongside the local populations, especially the most vulnerable: the Church is committed, from the beginning of the crisis, to responding to this emergency that is not only medical but humanitarian.
The consequences linked to the epidemic are in fact multiple and do not stop at the now thousands of deaths: health, food security, economy, social relations, discrimination, thousands of children orphaned are some of the most serious problems that are faced daily in big cities such as in the smaller and remote villages affected by the virus.
It is precisely in the communities, where the Church is present in a capillary way, that the work ofinformation and awareness , combined with the distribution of hygiene and health kits, to make everyone aware of the risks and the methods of prevention. Particularly important in this context are the messages transmitted by the local animators, who share with the populations language, culture, habits, and religious leaders whose authority facilitates understanding and implementation.
Also involved in assisting food families affected and orphaned children, in post-trauma psychological support as well as in identifying suspected cases and in their treatment through hospitals and specialized centers whose staff paid a very high price in human lives, Church bodies strengthen their commitment edraw attention to this crisis by highlighting some priority concerns closely linked to the Ebola emergency:

  1. "We also die of malaria and childbirth" In terms of health, we stress the importance of safely reopening hospitals and Catholic health centers closed after confirmed cases of infection, even for the parts in safety and the treatment of ordinary pathologies whose rate of lethality increases if people, as happens now, do not go to medical centers;
  2. "People die of hunger" : local economies are collapsing; in a context in which primary foodstuffs on the market are scarce, prices rise exponentially, crops are at risk due to lack of manpower, people in quarantine are limited in travel, it is necessary to assist populations to ensure food security and fight against child malnutrition;
  3. "People die due to ignorance" : on a social level, constant awareness-raising action is needed in communities in the most remote areas, so that everyone is aware of the risks, how to identify the virus, what are the recommendations to follow to prevent it. The importance of prevention and awareness-raising actions in countries neighboring those most affected must also be underlined, to avoid further expansion of the virus;
  4. "We die of injustice" : at the political level it is important to support local national governments in implementing emergency response plans, so that the action is faster and more effective; It is crucial for an initially undervalued epidemic to make human, material and financial resources available to stop the virus from spreading as soon as possible. It is also essential to provide correct information on the risks of contagion to avoid stigma also against migrants or in general those coming from the western region of Africa .

Only joint and coordinated action , in response to the needs expressed by governments and local communities, can stem the expansion of the epidemic. To think about the future and restore hope it is necessary to be there, to share, to work alongside those affected by the crisis, building together the conditions for an effective response.