SEATTLE -- Philanthropist Paul G. Allen today announced two additional partnerships with Medical Teams International and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières as part of its comprehensive relief campaign to tackle the Ebola epidemic. More volunteer medical professionals and facilities are desperately needed in order to turn the tide on the spread of the epidemic. The partnerships will focus on providing essential services, facilities and infrastructure for on-the-ground health providers working to contain the virus.
According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 2,400 people across five countries and infected nearly 5,000.
“We’ve reached a crucial moment in the fight against Ebola,” said Mr. Allen. “Without more resources and solutions for on-the-ground health workers, Ebola will continue to ravage West Africa. These courageous, selfless volunteers are the front line of defense in tackling Ebola, and we must do all we can to support those working to contain this virus.”
Support for Medical Teams International (MTI) will help to provide infrastructure, housing and transportation needs for MTI’s staff in Liberia. As one of the key agencies on the ground in Liberia, MTI has been working with the Liberia Central Ministry of Health, as well as local County Health and Social Welfare Teams, to prep and train health workers and support community prevention methods. Specific efforts of MTI have included supporting infection control at 250 health clinics, contact tracing and case investigation, and preventative and responsive health care in refugee camps. The funding will ensure that MTI’s staff members are properly equipped and able to continue their essential work to fight the virus.
“MTI has a long history of deep engagement in Liberia through building relationships and providing health programming to local communities. By partnering with Mr. Allen, we’re able to enhance our efforts to help lead the fight of responding to this deadly disease,” said Jeff Pinneo, president and CEO of MTI.
The partnership with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will support MSF’s existing Ebola emergency programs. MSF has been responding to the outbreak since it was first declared in March and has treated two-thirds of officially reported Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Beyond supporting the direct provision of care, Mr. Allen’s donation will go toward ongoing training and preparation of MSF international and national staff working as part of the organization’s Ebola response.
“MSF is grateful for the support of donors like Mr. Allen,” said Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF-USA. “His contribution is a critical element of the response to the largest Ebola outbreak in history.”
The partnership will also support expanding health facilities and bed capacity; improving health worker training around community health and education promotion; and providing technical support to beleaguered in-country health ministries, including helping Nigeria and Senegal prepare for a potential outbreak.
To date, Mr. Allen has made the following contributions to the Ebola relief efforts:
A partnership with UNICEF and UPS to airlift 50,000 protection kits into Liberia.
A partnership with Airlink to execute an air bridge to deliver critically needed medical protective gear and pharmaceuticals.
A grant to the CDC Foundation to establish emergency operations centers in the most-affected countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These centers will help to develop a systematic response with improved data management and communication systems for disease and patient contact tracing, which will ultimately help to detect and stop the disease from spreading.
A contribution to the American Red Cross to fund equipment, volunteers and educational materials in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
A matching grant to Global Giving, which more than 700 donors doubled in only four days. Ten groups received funding to distribute sanitation supplies, conduct training sessions and produce public service announcements.
Mr. Allen has also launched “Tackle Ebola,” a campaign to raise awareness of the epidemic in the United States and provide a clear platform through which individuals can learn, donate and participate. Part of that campaign will provide information about health and prevention to those living in areas where they are at risk of contracting Ebola. Beginning this weekend in the United States, public service announcements starring MLS and NFL players and coaches will air to raise awareness about the Ebola epidemic and encourage others to get involved.
As of this week, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has committed more than $20 million to stop the spread of Ebola.