Samaritan's Purse is ramping up its response to the Ebola outbreak ravaging the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Christian relief ministry has been helping to fight the deadly virus in the Central African country since last August. Now efforts are being expanded with the opening of a 20-bed Ebola treatment center (pictured) that can be expanded to 60 beds if necessary.
Megan Vitek with Samaritan's Purse is a nurse who treated Ebola in the country of Liberia in 2014. Just last week she led a training session in North Carolina as she and dozens of others are preparing to deploy. Vitek says the work will be difficult because probably half of their patients will die – but at the same time, she explains, there are some sweet moments.
"When you have that little child who pulls through that you didn't think would – or when you see a family able to go home together for the first time in several weeks, those are moments you hold on to," she tells OneNewsNow.
According to Samaritan's Purse, more than 350 people have already died, making this the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
"We know that we are doing a service to the greater community and to the international community," Vitek explains, "because if we can stop the spread of Ebola by simply isolating people and providing them care – as we can in that center – then we are certainly going to have a much larger impact throughout that region which borders on several other countries as well."
Vitek feels like the Lord has put it on her heart to do this work. They expect to run and staff the treatment center for the next five months.
Samaritan's Purse operated an Ebola treatment center during the outbreak in Liberia in 2014. Part of that effort included a massive public education campaign that reached more than 1.6 million people. A public education campaign is also part of the work in the Republic of Congo.
Photo credit: Samaritan's Purse