As West African countries continue to battle with the Ebola outbreak, billionaires have been lending their support to fight and possibly put an end to the epidemic.
Just as international organizations that are actively involved in treating those who have contracted the deadly hemorrhagic fever and in preventing the spread of the disease including the World Health Organization (WHO) and French-founded humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders have revealed that the resources for treating the sick and in containing the epidemic are falling short, philanthropists have come forward to provide financial help.
Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's charitable organization announced that it will donate $9 million to support American efforts to help fight the outbreak that has so far infected more than 4,300 individuals and caused the death of over 2,200. The donation from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will join the $50 million pledge from Microsoft founder Bill Gates' Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the outbreak.
The money from Allen's charity will be handed over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to put up operation centers in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the countries that were most devastated by the Ebola virus, as well as train staff. The pledge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on the other hand, will go to UN agencies and international groups for the purchase of supplies such as the protective suits that are worn by healthcare workers who are treating infected patients, and to improve emergency response.
This is not the first time that Allen's foundation pledged its financial support for the outbreak. Last month, it donated $2.8 million to the American Red Cross. The amount will be used to train workers on disease management, prevention and education techniques; purchase equipment and produce educational materials which include radio slots for broadcast in areas where residents are at risk of contracting the Ebola virus.
The foundation has also provided funding for research on an Ebola vaccine that yielded promising results in an animal study. The vaccine was found to trigger immune response in an experiment that involved monkeys.
"This contribution is just the beginning of an ongoing commitment to help the people of West Africa. Money is only part of the answer," Allen said in a statement. "We need creative and practical solutions for the logistical, healthcare worker safety and in-country education challenges aid organizations are facing."