Ebola outbreak in Congo

(Image courtesy of MAF)

(Image courtesy of MAF)

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — Ebola still claims the headlines as the outbreak rampages through Liberia and other parts of West Africa.

Now, there’s word of a spate of Ebola-related deaths in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mission Aviation Fellowship DRC program manager Nick Frey sets the record straight on that account. “The current situation with Ebola here in DRC is not connected to any other place in Africa.”

Equally deadly, the virus has killed 31 people. However, it is contained, says Frey. “The case that broke out here is in a small village, which is over 575 miles from the city of Kinshasa, where [I am] right now.”

Containment is a huge piece of the puzzle in beating Ebola. Isolation is the best case scenario. “There’s no major air travel, there’s no major boat travel, or really, travel back and forth from major centers to this small village,” says Frey.

(Photo courtesy MAF)

(Photo courtesy MAF)

However, because the village of Boende is in the middle of nowhere, getting help to them seems all but impossible. That’s why MAF exists.

On 30 August, MAF flew medical personnel and supplies into the Boende area of the DRC. “We have somewhat of an experience and relationships established with other humanitarian groups,” explains Frey. MAF assisted in Ebola outbreaks in Congo in both 1995 and 2007. That was followed up by a second flight 2 September, adds Frey.

As for coming into contact with the virus, Frey says the staff is utilizing medical protocol for the virus: avoiding contact, using hand sanitizer, soap and water, and gloves. Even transporting a sample of the virus didn’t unnerve the MAF team. “The sample kit that we brought back from the village on our airplane was not even handled by any MAF staff. It was only handled by professional staff. It was triple-wrapped and handled by professionals. We just provided the service of transporting it from the airstrip in Boende to the airstrip in Kinshasa.”

(Photo courtesy MAF)

(Photo courtesy MAF)

MAF’s ministry focuses on helping reach isolated people with tangible expressions of God’s love as well as the Gospel message. That breeds a unique confidence that’s obvious to the Congolese. “What really impressed them about MAF was the way that we help out. Not just specifically what we do in flying airplanes and flying medical staff and bringing back these medical samples, but the way in which we do it. They seem to feel an extra care and compassion from the MAF.”   Please continue to pray for Congo and the countries that are continuing to try to contain this outbreak.