Mennonite Health JournalArticles on the intersection of faith and health
Responding to Ebola
from Mennonite Health Journal, Vol. 16, No. 4 – November 2014
Since the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, there has been a plethora of information on the news and social media. Some information has been accurate and helpful and some has not.
It is no coincidence that the countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak also have weak healthcare infrastructure. The state of the health systems as well as limited human and material resources contributes to the difficulty in managing the spread of the disease.
The response of the faith community to the Ebola outbreak has been varied. Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) has reported on the activity of several member organizations that are responding to the crisis. Other organizations are still monitoring the situation and gauging their response.
At the time of this writing, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has not initiated a response to Ebola in West Africa since the outbreaks are not in areas where MCC currently has programming. MCC continues to monitor the situation and the needs of our partners in the region.
In situations like the Ebola outbreak, MCC thoughtfully and prayerfully considers the needs of the situation and reconciles that need with local partnerships to determine our involvement. This thoughtful consideration strengthens the response to crises and the ability to do the most good and limit harm.
MCC is currently drafting guidelines for prevention measures that will be circulated to workers and staff that may travel near affected areas. The purpose of the guidelines is to respond to the outbreak in a proactive rather than reactive way.
The Ebola outbreak provides another opportunity for those of us living in relatively wealthy nations to examine the social determinants that lead to or exacerbate health disparities. While it is important to respond to crises, we also need to be diligent in working toward eliminating social and economic disparities in the long term.
About the author
Beth Good, PhD, APHN-BC, CNS, RN is a nurse who formerly lived in Columbia, Pennsylvania. She has served on the MHF Board since 2013, including one year as President, 2015-16. She currently works as Health Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in the area of Public Health including awareness of HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, and community health. In the fall of 2016, Beth and her husband, Clair Good, moved from their roles as co-pastors of Vision Columbia to the Congo where they have accepted a three-year assignment with MCC. In December 2014, Beth successfully defended her PhD dissertation on women who have survived rape in conflict settings.