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Religious leaders celebrated on Ebola free anniversary

UNITED: Faith leaders meeting with CAFOD director, Chris Bain Kambia

ONE YEAR after Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free by World Health Organisation, UK aid agency CAFOD are honouring the community faith leaders who played a vital role in tackling the deadly outbreak which claimed almost 4,000 lives.

CAFOD worked across several parts of Sierra Leone, including the northern town of Kambia, alongside its local partner, Caritas Makeni, to ensure victims' bodies were buried safely and with dignity.

Ex-Catholic mission boy, Abubakarr Tony Kamara, who coordinated burial team operations, said: "We put together a database of religious leaders who could take teams to a victim's house.

"Priests could offer prayers from a distance, while Muslim leaders could seek out Koranic verses explaining to families that there are special circumstances where people can be buried without the usual rites."

Religious leaders also played a critical role in spreading the right information about public and personal hygiene practises.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of Sierra Leone’s population are Muslim and the remaining third (30%) Christian. And while the two communities live harmoniously, CAFOD and its local partners recognised that faith leaders from both faiths would make an incredible impact on the population by working together, to end the devastating Ebola virus in their communities.

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