"I will never abandon my mission": 3 minutes with an Ebola doctor

30 August 2019

An Ebola treatment centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

An Ebola treatment centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo. CAFOD is supporting Caritas Beni and Caritas Butembo to allow them to scale up an urgently needed awareness-raising campaign in communities. Photo credit: Jean Claude Wenga

Meet Dr Guy Byavulwa

Dr Guy Byavulwa is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the frontline of the latest Ebola crisis that has claimed more than 2,000 lives. He's risking his own life as part of an emergency response team from our Church network.

What is the situation in the area where you're working?

Guy: This is an area that has been experiencing complex humanitarian crises and ongoing conflicts for many years. Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes and are already at increased risk of hunger and disease. To add an Ebola outbreak to this situation is pushing many communities to breaking point. 

What's the biggest challenge you face?

Dr Guy Byavulwa is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the frontline of the latest Ebola crisis that has claimed more than 1,500 lives

Dr Guy Byavulwa is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the frontline of the latest Ebola crisis that has claimed more than 2,000 lives.

Guy: The communities are divided in their perception of the Ebola virus. Some of them are resistant to the point of threatening people who want to get vaccinated. Others seek out treatment but are afraid of reprisals. So far, we have managed to keep the disease out of the main towns in the area, but we can't treat people if they refuse to accept that Ebola exists.

How are you helping to tackle the Ebola crisis?

Guy: The priority will be to work side by side with the Church to halt the spread of the Ebola virus. We will do this by raising awareness, ensuring access to clean water and assisting with the safe and dignified burials of people who have died, which is critical for containing the spread of the disease.

What's the most important aspect of your work?

Guy: The most important thing is to raise awareness of Ebola any way we can – through verbal messages, billboards, posters, on the radio and through the churches.

How does your faith motivate your work?

Guy: As a doctor and a Christian, my mission is to alleviate the suffering of God's people. It is extremely hard to see families suffering and I am fearful for myself and for my family. But I will never abandon my mission. With your support, the spread of Ebola can be stopped and many hundreds of lives can be saved.

Thank you for your donations

With your support, CAFOD is helping emergency workers like Guy deliver urgently needed vaccines and medical services to remote rural communities. They are also raising awareness in local communities to help break down the mistrust that stops people from seeking treatment.

Donate now to the DRC Ebola crisis

Thanks to your generous donations, we can support local experts like Guy to work with communities across the Democratic Republic of Congo to help stop the spread of this deadly disease.

This interview appears in the summer issue of Side by Side magazine.

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