Leymah Gbowee expressed gratitude to the U.S. for responding to the Ebola crisis but said her country needs health care more than it needs troops.
"I'm just in awe of how the church has been so present in the midst of the fear of this epidemic," said deacon and doctor Timothy Flanigan.
Burials that are dignified and safe are urgently needed for Ebola victims in West Africa, where corpses are frequently left unattended for days and then thrown into graves without ceremony, a U.S. church aid official said.
"So many people are dying that there has not been the capacity to respond" to burial needs in an appropriate way and "we are now making this a priority," Michael Stulman, regional information officer for the U.S. bishops' Catholic Relief Services, said in a telephone interview from Freetown, Sierra Leone.
There have been 8,033 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola and more than 3,879 deaths attributed to the current outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization reports.
The first man to be diagnosed with Ebola in the USA died Wednesday.
Aid workers are providing everything from medical care to protective gear to education as the Ebola virus continues to spread.
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Church leaders in West Africa are raising concerns over sporadic violence that has killed one of their own and frustrated efforts to stem the Ebola epidemic.
The violence took a dangerous turn last week in a remote village in southeast Guinea, when fearful villagers killed eight members of a disinfection and awareness team, including an evangelical church pastor.
"People who are exposed to this virus will feel they are accompanied, that the church suffers with them, the church works for them."
Public radio host Diane Rehm aired a show July 31 on Ebola. You can listen here. Like most of us, I wanted to hear onset symptoms (fever), incubation time (seven to 21 days), treatment (hydration and palliative care by people totally enclosed in heavy, hot garb) and hopes for a vaccine (two to seven years).
It is hard for people in Sierra Leone not to lose hope as the death toll rises and worldwide fear grows over the worst Ebola outbreak on record, said the head of Caritas in the archdiocese of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
"Our situation is desperate," said Fr. Peter Konteh, executive director of Caritas.
In a telephone interview Wednesday from Freetown, Konteh said the mood of the West African country was bleak following the death Tuesday of the doctor who had been leading the country's fight against the highly contagious disease.
NCR Today: Happy Earth Day! Celebrate with some of the ecological stories you may have missed the last week or so.
An African who says an Irish missionary priest sexually abused him when he was a student will have his case heard in Ireland later this year.