A healer claiming to have special powers to cure Ebola Virus Disease has been identified as the cause of the virus’ deadly outbreak leaving hundreds of people dead in Sierra Leone.
According to the country’s health officials, the outbreak should not have spread from Guinea to the country except for the herbalist in the remote eastern border village of Sokoma.
“She was claiming to have powers to heal Ebola. Cases from Guinea were crossing into Sierra Leone for treatment,” Mohamed Vandi, the top medical official in the hard-hit district of Kenema, told Agence France-Presse.
“She got infected and died. During her funeral, women around the other towns got infected.” The herbalist’s mourners fanned out across the rolling hills of the Kissi tribal chiefdoms, starting a chain reaction of infections, deaths, funerals and more infections.
A worrying outbreak turned into a major epidemic when the virus finally hit Kenema city on June 17.
An ethnically-diverse, Krio-speaking city of 190,000, Kenema already has the highest incidence of Lassa fever, another viral haemorrhagic disease, in the world.
Last week Saturday, the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, T.B. Joshua, one of Nigeria’s controversial and richest preachers according to Forbes, announced that he sent more than 4,000 bottles of his powerful anointing water, which users claimed had worked many miracles, to help victims of the deadly EVD in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
“Prophet T.B. Joshua announced in The SCOAN Saturday Prayer Line that 4,000 bottles of New Anointing Water have arrived in the nation of Sierra Leone, alongside $50,000 in humanitarian aid, to support the ongoing crises there caused by the disease of Ebola,” stated a post on the Facebook page of TB Joshua Ministries.
“The Anointing Water was sent in a private jet that cost an additional $50,000 to charter, making $100,000 given by Prophet T.B. Joshua and the Emmanuel TV Partners to reach out to the troubled nation,” it added.
Joshua claimed on the church’s website that God was powerfully expressing himself through the “Anointing Water” he distributed.
“By using the Anointing Water, you are symbolically setting yourself apart for Jesus Christ’s special attention as you pray in faith. I mean, you are positioned for mercy, favour, healing, deliverance, blessing, prosperity and fruitfulness,” Joshua said.
The virus is highly infectious through exposure to bodily fluids, and its early rapid spread in West Africa was attributed in part to relatives touching victims during traditional funeral ri