The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a $50 million commitment to help ramp up emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Effective immediately, the foundation will provide funds on a flexible basis to United Nations agencies and aid organizations for the purchase of supplies and the expansion of emergency operations in the region. At the same time, it will work with public- and private-sector partners to accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines for the virus with the aim of treating those already infected and preventing further transmission of the disease.
The funds include more than $10 million already committed by the foundation — $5 million to the World Health Organization for emergency operations and R&D assessments, and $5 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in support of its efforts in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to purchase and deliver essential medical supplies, coordinate response activities, and disseminate life-saving information in at-risk communities, as well as support for an Emergency Operations Center in Nigeria. The foundation also will award an additional $2 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support its Ebola efforts in the region.
"We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop transmission of this deadly disease," said Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann. "We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks."