Emergency in West Africa

In 2014 the largest Ebola outbreak in history hit West Africa. With Sierra Leone’s feeble health care system and no previous experience with the virus, the country was plunged into chaos. As the number of victims grew, the cultural practice of touching and washing dead bodies rapidly increased the spread of the virus. The medical community reacted by banning traditional funerals and hastily burying the dead.

While this medical intervention was necessary, outlawing burial traditions was an outrage to many. Deaths went unreported and body washing was done in secret, infecting thousands. World Vision invited Christian and Muslim leaders to develop burial practices that respected both local culture and the safe burial protocol which allowed a conventional funeral while preventing the family from touching the highly infectious body and spreading Ebola. Once  World  Vision  formed  its  dignified  burial method,  they  trained  and  deployed  newly reformed burial teams. 

 During World Vision’s 37 years in West Africa, they have seen that through every crisis, the people  in  this  region  call  upon  their  resourcefulness  and  resilience  to  endure  and  rebuild. None of it would be possible without their determination to bring hope and opportunity to West Africa’s families - efforts that create a better world for all of us.