Part of a larger effort by the foundation to prevent disease outbreaks from progressing to pandemics, the challenge was designed to encourage innovative approaches to overcoming physical complications and community distrust that are hampering the response to an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo — an outbreak that has resulted in more than fourteen hundred known cases of the deadly disease. Grants awarded through the challenge boost the foundation's total commitment to Ebola prevention efforts to almost $4 million; in 2014, Paul Allen was the single largest private donor to the West Africa Ebola response, committing $100 million to contain the spread of Ebola and help reduce the number of cases to zero.
Recipients of grants awarded through the challenge include the National Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo/International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in support of a project to localize community feedback data systems for more effective decision making; the World Health Organization, in partnership with the Université Catholique du Graben, in support of efforts to ensure that best practices in Ebola treatment, prevention, and control are disseminated to local communities and clinics; and UNICEF, in support of the development and deployment of a real-time monitoring and feedback platform.
"The Ebola Response Accelerator Challenge received dozens of innovative proposals, illustrating the urgent need for assistance to tackle this growing outbreak," said Jody Allen, chair of Vulcan Inc. and trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust. "The communities and responders in the DRC deserve attention, assistance, and support from the global community. Governments and private funders must invest at this critical juncture; it's up to all of us to stop Ebola."
(Photo credit: National Red Cross Society of DRC)