Ebola is a curse from God according to some

On Friday, the World Health Organization declared that the ongoing Ebola crisis ravaging the region is an international health emergency. On the same day, Nigeria became the newest country in West Africa to declare the virus a national emergency, one of many countries suffering from the damages of the disease.

On Saturday, a Congolese nun died from Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia. The outbreak started in December in Guinea and was not discovered until March. It has killed more than 1,000 people on record in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

“People are having different misconceptions that this is a curse from God,” Bishop Sumoward Harris said. “This is depending on how they are interpreting the Bible. But I don’t think God is angry and is issuing a punishment.”

In Liberia, a hundred Christian leaders met in early August and declared that God was angry and Ebola was the plague sent by him. They then called for prayers to seek God’s forgiveness for sins including corruption and immoral acts such as homosexuality, which has seen considerable controversy in Africa.

Liberia’s Wilmot Kotati Bobbroh, who is the head of the Living Water Pentecostal Church, described the outbreak as a national curse brought by God to force repentance on the populace. Bobbroh said that chlorine and soap were not working, but God’s mercy was apparently saving people. In Sierra Leone, a similar view is taking hold.

“It has some similarities to what happened when the HIV/AIDS epidemic first occurred,” said James-Dekam, a health secretary in Sierra Leone.

Initially, those infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone had relied on treatment from traditional healers, but this was shown to be ineffective for them, she added, “Virtually all churches are relying on medical professional for treatment.”

“The people had started taking relatives to prayer houses, while others administered herbal treatment,” Harris stated. “By the time we realized this was an epidemic, it had grown out of proportion. We are now overwhelmed,” he added while citing an urgent need for medical services in the region which has been slow to respond at first.