Liberia ebola outbreak: Pastors being urged not to rely on faith alone to heal the sick


Liberia's chief medical officer is begging church pastors to release the sick in their midst to hospitals instead of simply praying for their recovery.

Dr Bernice Dahn is concerned that some people infected with the highly contagious Ebola virus are being kept indoors in the belief that prayer alone will heal them.   

She said three people suspected of having Ebola in New Kru Town died in a church where they had gone for prayer, AllAfrica reports.

"We must stop keeping people suspected of Ebola in our churches on ground that we can heal them," she said.

"We are begging our pastors.  The churches are not hospital.  We need to take a stance to prevent the rapid spread of the disease."

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak has risen to 34 but with over 200 suspected cases across the country, that figure could rise.

Across West Africa, 340 people in total have died so far, prompting the intervention of the World Health Organisation.  

Ebola is a highly contagious virus that causes massive internal bleeding and leads to death in over 80 per cent of cases. 

Samaritan's Purse has been responding to the outbreak since March, spearheading a national awareness campaign, and distributing hygiene items to over 300,000 people in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

But with the death toll climbing, it is ramping up its efforts and has just deployed a team of doctors to provide medical care to those infected. 

"This is one of the most deadly diseases in the world, and it must be contained as quickly as possible," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse.

"We're sending a team of highly skilled doctors and nurses, and we want to do all we can to help bring this outbreak under control."