Liberian pastor discusses Ebola scare

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Health officials say an outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa has claimed nearly 1,000 lives over the past few weeks.

The outbreak is thousands of miles away, but it has been a hot topic at a women's conference in North Charleston.

Women from African Methodist Episcopal churches around the world have united to worship and learn. One of the issues they have discussed is the recent Ebola outbreak and what they can do to help.

"One of the well-kept secrets of the AME church is we are a public health machine, and so we have the ability to get information down to the person who is not going to go to the doctor, not going to go to a public arenas and find out the information. We go knock on people's doors. We are community activists," said Miriam Burnett, the medical director with AME Connectional Health Commission.

Awareness is especially important to Katurah Cooper. She the pastor at a church in Liberia.

"We use Sunday mornings not only for our preaching and praising, but we also have nurses who are members of our church and others who come and do a 15-minute talk about Ebola," said Cooper.

Her church has also been handing out sanitary kits as well as posting information on social media.

"Especially in a country like Liberia where 65 percent of the population is under 35 years old and they their cell phones, they love all of that social media and you have to get the word out to them," said Cooper.

And with a deadly disease like Ebola, prevention is key, which is why all of the ladies are hoping to learn as much they can.

Cooper is thankful that so far Ebola has not affected any members of her church, but believes prevention is crucial.