Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Ebola Response

Since June 2014, the Global Health unit and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), both of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, have been working together to coordinate an integrated response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. To date, they have ensured that grants totaling more than $500,000 for educational programs, protective equipment, and other Ebola-related supplies have been provided to the health boards in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire and to other partners.

As the disease dynamic shifts from the crisis phase, it has become apparent that the epidemic already is having long-term negative impacts on the health systems, economies and social practices of these countries. Global Ministries’ is shifting its Ebola focus from UMCOR’s International Disaster Response unit to the Global Health unit. In doing so, we seek to enable a long-term approach that not only continues to address the Ebola epidemic but also works with the local church and other partners to strengthen healthcare capacity in West Africa.

If you would like to give financially to support the goals of this long-term approach, please give to

UMCOR Global Health, Advance #3021770. One hundred percent of your donation will help Global Ministries to work with local partners to strengthen healthcare capacities to confront this and other health challenges.

Churches Play Important Role in Fighting Stigma

In West Africa, The United Methodist Church is helping communities prevent the spread of Ebola while offering compassion to those who are feeling stigmatized by the virus. Bishop Yambasu of Sierra Leone shared with the General Board of Global Ministries that during the passing of the peace, church members now place their hands on their hearts and bow to one another rather than embracing. Hand washing stations are also at the entrance of houses of worship.

In the U.S., many United Methodists have been in prayer with those in West Africa who are affected by the outbreak. When Ebola was identified in the U.S., concern grew that people from West Africa might be subject to stigma and discrimination.

Dr. Olusimbo Ige from Global Ministries’ United Methodist Global Health unit said that the Center for Disease Control has stated that Ebola causes no significant threat to the United States. “Ebola is not an airborne disease,” she said. Referring to a CDC graphic, “You can only get Ebola from: touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or who has died from Ebola; touching contaminated objects, like needles; or touching infected animals.”

The Rev. Dr. J. Denise Honeycutt, who leads the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), encourages congregations to respond with love rather than fear. “There is no legitimate reason to limit interactions with people from West Africa,” she said. “As people of faith, we are called to walk with our brothers and sisters, particularly those who might be grieving or concerned for their loved ones who are at risk in their home country.” She added, “We want to welcome and care for others as Christ has done for us.”

Contact: Melissa Hinnen, Director of Content and Public Information, mhinnen@umcmission.org.

Summary of UMCOR’s Response to Ebola Outbreak as of December 15, 2014

To date, Global Ministries has issued, through UMCOR, more $500,000 in grants in response to the Ebola epidemic. Primary partners have been the United Methodist Church (UMC) health boards in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and grants also have been extended to other trusted partners, as detailed below.

Working with the United Methodist health board in Liberia, UMCOR has:

  • Distributed 400 personal protection kits (PPE) to UMC facilities
  • Provided funds to distribute supplies (including gloves and gowns) for UMC health facilities
  • Provided 1,250 individuals with a month’s supply of emergency food rations
  • Trained 150 teachers as Ebola educators, provided 15 Ebola prevention kits, and educated 900 individuals in Ebola prevention in three communities
  • Educated 25,000 individuals through the trained trainers and public announcement materials on Ebola
  • Provided emergency food assistance to 350 vulnerable individuals
  • Provide 10000 vulnerable individuals with emergency 1 month rations to cover food needs during the disruption of normal activities caused by Ebola.
  • Train 150 teachers as Ebola educators in 3 communities.

Working with GlobalMedic in Liberia, UMCOR has:

  • Provided 38,000 face masks, 3,800 protective suits and 60,000 pairs of gloves
  • Provided essential medicines
  • Provided five (5) pop-up tents to be used as overflow or holding units.

Working with ACT Alliance in Liberia, UMCOR has supported:

  • Training for 70 beneficiaries to make them trainers on Ebola virus outbreak awareness and sensitization of preventive measures
  • Workshops for 960 beneficiaries on Ebola virus outbreak awareness and preventive measures.

Working with YWCA in Liberia, UMCOR has supported:

  • Identification and support of 200 girl survivors of Ebola
  • Provided 50 girl survivors with food support and hygiene kits

Working with the United Methodist health board in Sierra Leone, UMCOR has:

  • Provided health facilities materials to prevent contagion
  • Constructed a holding unit at Mercy Hospital
  • Distributed 400 PPE to UMC health facilities
  • Trained 200 health workers on Ebola
  • Provided public awareness messages to impacted communities
  • Purchased supplies for UMC health facilities in Sierra Leone.
  • Working with GlobalMedic in Sierra Leone, UMCOR has:

    • Provided 38,000 face masks, 3,800 protective suits and 60,000 pairs of gloves
    • Provided essential medicines
    • Provided five (5) pop-up tents to be used as overflow or holding units.
    • Working with the YWCA in Sierra Leone, UMCOR has:

    • Identification and support of 200 girl survivors of Ebola
    • Provided 50 girl survivors with food support and hygiene kits
    • Working with the United Methodist health board in Cote d’Ivoire, UMCOR has:

      • Implemented a public awareness campaign within UMC institutions
      • Purchased supplies for UMC health facilities in Cote d’Ivoire.

Related News

During the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Child Rescue Center kept children academically-focused with newly-created educational programs, thanks to UMC #GivingTuesday donations.
A Source of Hope During the Ebola Crisis
During the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Child Rescue Center kept children academically-focused with newly-created educational programs, thanks to UMC ...
In Liberia, Helping Vulnerable People Fight Ebola
In a border town, UMCOR support for elderly and persons living with disabilities was invaluable.
Global Ministries Missionary Mary Randall Zigbuo with 11 year-old Mary, whom she met in Behwan Town, Liberia.
A ‘safety net’ for Mary
Missionary Mary Zigbuo shares about a young girl named Mary in Liberia who benefitted from an UMCOR-sponsored food security and Ebola awareness interv ...
Hope Fulfilled
The Ebola epidemic in Liberia has cut short food supplies. An UMCOR grant helped Mother Mardee Kpoo, 78, feed her family.
Signs of Hope, Faith and Courage in the Midst of Ebola
Mary Zigbou, United Methodist missionary, shares an update about the Ebola crisis in Liberia.
Serving in Liberia
Priscilla Legay-Jaiah, UM missionary with Global Ministries, shares her gratitude for Ebola response supporters and shares an update.
Liberia Partners in Mission Together
Participants from 14 annual conferences, including Global Ministries staff, gather at the Liberia Partners Summit to partner, intercede and support t ...
The United Methodist Struggle Against Ebola in Sierra Leone
Faith community in Sierra Leone is deeply involved in grassroots efforts to stop the spread of Ebola.
United Methodist Surgeon May Come to U.S. for Ebola Treatment
United Methodist Kissy Hospital surgeon may be coming to U.S. for Ebola treatment, but details have not been confirmed.
Sierra Leone Hospital Closes After Doctor Gets Ebola
Kissy United Methodist Hospital closes after its chief medical officer and surgeon tests positive for Ebola.