Bloomberg News provides an excellent overview of the challenges Catholic Relief Services and other organizations face when responding to the Ebola crisis in West Africa: mistrust, disbelief, lack of medical supplies and more.
At the front lines of the Ebola outbreak, doctors and support workers across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea face a daunting challenge. On a daily basis, they deal with patients who lie about their travel history, hopeful their fever has nothing to do with the funerals they attended. They face suspicion from families who mistrust them and neighbors who fear them. And they are frustrated by a lack of adequate supplies and the tough conditions they work under….
In many cases, medical workers say, the initial barrier they came up against was getting people to believe that Ebola was real. This is the first outbreak in West Africa and Ebola’s initial symptoms -– fever, headaches, diarrhea -– could belong to a wide range of diseases endemic to the region.
“People say, ‘Well, we’ve had fever, and we’ve always dealt with it this way, why should this be different?’” said Meredith Dyson, health program manager for Catholic Relief Services in Sierra Leone. “Once isolation units popped up, that created a lot of anxiety because they couldn’t access their loved ones.”
With Ebola Spreading, CRS Pushes Ahead in fighting the Virus
From NPR – Amid Ebola’s Spread, One Rules Reigns: ‘Don’t Touch’
Ebola Crisis Update: CRS Responding in Three Countries
Vatican Radio: CRS Responding to Ebola Outbreak and Fighting Fear Surrounding It