The Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has announced a gift of $35 million from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in support of its Ebola response efforts in West Africa.
The funds will be used to establish specialized Ebola treatment centers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the three countries most affected by the outbreak, as well as in Mali, where the number of Ebola cases to date has been limited but health authorities are anxious about the virus gaining a foothold. The donation also will fund efforts to equip airports, railway stations, and bus stations in the region with thermal sensors and medical examination equipment to help identify those infected with the disease and prevent the spread of the virus, and provide sensors and medical equipment to schools in the region that have been shut down as a result of the outbreak so they can reopen.
The World Health Organization recently reported that, as of December 7, there have been 17,942 reported cases of Ebola and 6,388 deaths across eight countries.
The gift from Abdullah will "reinforce the institutional and health infrastructure to fight the current epidemic and any potential epidemics in the future," said IDB president Ahmed Mohamed Ali, "thus saving thousands of lives and ensuring the safety of those at risk of contamination."