Catholic charity Cafod has launched a fundraising appeal to scale up its work in fighting the deadly Ebola virus.
The charity and its partners are working on the frontline in West Africa with public awareness and hygiene programmes.
Now Cafod is appealing to Catholics in the UK to help stop the spread of the virus, which has already claimed the lives of over 3,800 people, according to the World Health Organisation.
“The Ebola virus has reached a tipping point, with a very narrow window of opportunity to reduce the number of infections,” said Cafod director Chris Bain.
“It has been distressing to see the suffering and desperation caused by the Ebola virus, but we cannot let these images paralyse us with fear, instead we must reach out to the poorest and most vulnerable people in need of help.
“Supported by the incredible generosity of the Catholic community of England and Wales, we can achieve this.”
Cafod and its partners are working in the worst-affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
Mgr Robert Vitillio, a Cafod partner, recently returned from Liberia and said more needed to be done to inform people about the illness.
“Some people die in the streets looking for medical treatment for the Ebola infection,” said Mgr Vitillio, Caritas Internationalis expert on health.
“There is still much fear and denial among people, and public awareness raising is our first line of defence.”
Cafod has already released £200,000 to its Caritas partners in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The charity is raising funds to train priests, imams and other religious leaders to make their communities aware of basic hygiene practices, as well as distributing hygiene kits.
They are also working to encourage safe burial practices.
Ebola is commonly spread through traditional rituals such as washing the body of the deceased and holding open casket funerals.
Readers can donate to the Cafod Ebola crisis fund here.