Caritas on Front Lines in Fight Against Ebola

European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department

Priests, religious men and women, and educators take on roles of caregivers to the stricken.

The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa is spreading at a rate that is alarming emergency responders, local authorities and international health officials. The virus has claimed more than 800 lives, with scores of new cases being reported across the affected region every week. International efforts to contain the virus have accelerated in recent days, with African leaders and the World Health Organization coordinating their response alongside the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has announced that it will be deploying at least 50 experts to the region over the next month.

Caritas Internationalis has been in contact with people on the front lines in the fight to stop the spread of the disease, many of whom are priests, religious men and women, and educators, who have found themselves thrust into the role of caregivers to the stricken. Laura Sheahen of Caritas Internationalis told Vatican Radio the situation is deteriorating on the ground, despite the best efforts of first responders.

“I’ve been in touch with [many] of our priests and health workers on the ground in Guinea and Sierra Leone, and indeed it is getting worse—things are getting really scary.”

Caritas reports that basic medical supplies like gloves and masks are in critically short supply, and even completely exhausted in some places. The organization is campaigning for immediate assistance to help combat the epidemic.