October 8, 2014—Since June 2014, the General Board of Global Ministries’ United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Global Health unit have been working in collaboration on a global scale to coordinate an integrated approach in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
Community education about the disease, health worker protection and psychosocial counseling for affected people and their families are the strategy’s three prongs, said Dr. Olusimbo Ige, of Global Health.
To date, UMCOR and Global Health have worked together to ensure that grants totaling $400,000 for educational programs, protective equipment and other Ebola-related supplies have been provided primarily to United Methodist health boards in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.
“Our approach is to work closely with United Methodist health boards in affected countries, listening closely to them as they identify needs and strategies we can support,” said Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR executive who heads the organization’s International Disaster Response unit.
Amick is in charge of disbursing UMCOR emergency funds, while Ige advises that distribution in the case of the Ebola response. Together, they hold a weekly conversation by telephone with the United Methodist health boards in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
It has become apparent to the international humanitarian community and the governments involved with this crisis that the epidemic will likely have a long-term negative impact on the health systems, economies and social practices of these countries.
Global Ministries is partnering with local health boards, bishops, missionaries, UMCOR technical offices and others to enable a long-term approach that not only responds to the current Ebola crisis but, also, helps strengthen healthcare capacity in the region to make it better prepared to meet any possible future crisis.
This long-term, integrated approach reflects the established standard for response to health crises and issues of sustainable development. To financially support these immediate and long-term goals, please write “Ebola response” in the memo section of your check. This will ensure that funds go where intended.