The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it will spend $50million to support emergency response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, marking the group’s largest donation to a humanitarian effort.
‘It became clear to us over the last seven to 10 days that the pace and scope of the epidemic was increasing significantly,’ Chris Elias, president of global development for the world’s largest charitable foundation, told The Associated Press.
The Seattle-based foundation said the money will go to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and international organizations involved in fighting transmission of the virus.
The money will be used to purchase supplies and to develop vaccines, therapies and better diagnostic tools.
‘By fighting Ebola now, we can make sure it doesn’t become an endemic in [West] Africa,’ Gates tweeted on Wednesday.
The foundation wants to help stop the outbreak as well as accelerate development of treatments and improve prevention.
Elias said foundation officials have been talking to its partners around the world to assess the best use of its dollars and could not say yet how much would be spent on the emergency response and how much on research and development.
‘One of our key advantages is flexibility,’ he said.
Global health and development dominate the work of the foundation, which has given away $30billion since 1997. The foundation formed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife reported an endowment worth $40billion as of March 2014.
The foundation was particularly influenced by the request on Friday by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for $600million to fight the Ebola outbreak.
Ban said efforts in the next few weeks would be essential to stopping the virus that has killed more than 2,000 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
The $50million includes $10million the foundation previously committed for emergency operations, treatment and research. Of that money, $5million went to the World Health Organization for emergency operations and research and development.
Another $5million went to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to purchase medical supplies, coordinate response efforts and spread information.
Some of the $50million will support strengthening existing health care systems in the countries affected by the outbreak, the foundation said.
Source: Daily Mail