2014's TIME magazine revealed Persons of the Year: Ebola Fighters. We applaud their decision. 2014 was a year of plague, fears, deaths, research, volunteers, quarantine, and slow hope. For good reason, Ebola fighters were in the headlines and in media-debates. Ebola was a major topic in US news. But frankly, we did not think about it every day here in Bangladesh. A number of you, our dear friends and supporters, asked valid questions, so we addressed your concerns:
- Is Ebola in Bangladesh? Yes and no—while there have not been any human cases identified yet, the virus is actually more prevalent among bats in Bangladesh than in Africa. Bats are the reservoir for the virus. (See this 2013 online article for more details).
- Could Ebola spread to Bangladesh? Absolutely, either by jumping from the carrier bats as it has happened in various parts of Africa, or via infected humans who are returning to Bangladesh after travel in Africa (in particular UN peacekeepers, a high percentage of whom are Bangladeshi).
- If Ebola comes, will you stay in Bangladesh? As with past tragedies and dangers, our team members will individually make that decision to go or stay. Our expatriate team members are volunteers here, using their skills and gifts uniquely. They each would need to consider whether they could practically help. Whatever their decision, the team would seek to support them in it.
- Will any of your medical team go to work in West Africa? No. We have no plans to leave Bangladesh, though we applaud the doctors and nurses who have volunteered and gone. We still believe that our work is here. We still cannot sufficiently treat all the medical needs of southern Bangladesh. Even as we pray for the Ebola-fighters and Ebola-victims, we continue to pray for doctors and nurses to join us in Bangladesh as well.
Dear friends, we thank you for your concern, your prayers, and your support. Please continue praying for West Africans whose lives are severely affected by Ebola. And please pray for us. Our medical team is working hard, pleading with God to provide all that is needed. Yet they echo the apostle Paul’s words, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
-submitted December, 2014; updated Spring, 2018. Photo was taken from public domain photos.
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