In August 2014, the World Health Organization categorized the Ebola epidemic as a public health emergency of international and grave concern. Today, although media attention and the immediate crisis have subsided, urgent recovery continues in the wake of Ebola for all of society and for the Catholic Church in West Africa as it rebuilds its health networks.
Catholic health networks—a significant part of the health systems in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea—are uniquely equipped to contribute to the ongoing response and rebuilding effort, and are critical to community resilience.
Under the direction of FADICA’s (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities) International Philanthropy Member Working Group, a research project was born to accompany the Catholic Church in a constructive way in this rebuilding process. Through the leadership of the Working Group, FADICA published a report, A Call to Impact and Solidarity in the Wake of Ebola: Accompanying Catholic Health Networks and Supporting Resiliency in West Africa, and a related plan for impact. FADICA produced the report after several months of research which included expert input from global health scholars, government representatives, Catholic health and relief organizations, and FADICA members. The report highlighted the significant gaps, future needs, and impact opportunities in these three countries following the Ebola crisis.
This research underscored that health system strengthening in West Africa is essential and that Catholic health networks need strong partnerships and support to strengthen their unique position and value in Ebola-affected communities to address gaps, opportunities and needs. These findings led FADICA to develop an impact plan outlining three significant pillars of opportunity. In solidarity with Pope Francis and the Catholic Church’s commitment to the ongoing post-Ebola rebuilding effort, the pillars include:
- Providing resources for Catholic health facilities
- Expanding psychosocial and pastoral care
- Strengthening communication, collaboration, and partnerships
To continue this ongoing work, FADICA members facilitated the establishment of the West African Catholic Health Solidarity Fund at the National Catholic Community Foundation (NCCF). In collaboration with the Holy See’s special Ebola response initiative, funds will support projects with strong capacity and a history of effectiveness in these three areas.
Read FADICA’s report: A Call to Impact and Solidarity in the Wake of Ebola
Health system strengthening continues to be a critical focus in West Africa. The Church, and its many networks and partners, will accompany these Catholic health networks and support their ongoing resiliency in the wake of Ebola. Please contact us to learn more about this initiative.