The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday it will donate $50 million to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The foundation says the money will be used to enable international aid organizations and national governments “to purchase badly needed supplies and scale up emergency operations in affected countries.” It will also “work with public and private sector partners to accelerate the development of therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics that could be effective in treating patients and preventing further transmission of the disease.”
More than 2,200 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the outbreak has been concentrated. Cases have also been reported in nearby Nigeria and Senegal.
To help West Africa’s already overtaxed medical system, the United States announced Tuesday it will send $10 million in additional funds. That’s in addition to the $100 million Washington has already sent to help fight the outbreak. USAID also announced it will make $75 million in extra funds available. The new funds will pay for transportation and support to send 100 more health care workers to help fight the epidemic. The World Health Organization and several nonprofit agencies on the ground have repeatedly called for the international community to send additional trained help.
USAID funding has already provided 130,000 sets of personal protective equipment, 50,000 hygiene kits, and 1,000 new beds and has created a website where trained nurses, physician assistants or doctors who want to help can sign up.