The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has announced that it will increase its commitment to fight Ebola in West Africa from $26.5 million to at least $100 million.
The additional funding will support a variety of initiatives aimed at containing the outbreak, including a $7.5 million grant to the University of Massachusetts Medical School to provide training, medical workers, and lab equipment in Liberia, with a focus on providing decontamination equipment to local hospitals as well as community outreach and education efforts aimed at reopening hospitals that have been abandoned due to lack of staff and community support.
Funds from the foundation also will be used to develop and manufacture two medevac containment units, which the U.S. State Department will use to evacuate medical professionals infected with the virus from the region. To address one of the key challenges humanitarian organizations face in recruiting medical staff to work in the region, Allen also has created a $2.5 million Ebola Medevac Fund that will match donations to help pay for the medevac transport of medical professionals should they become infected. The fund will be administered by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
"I'm trying to galvanize and coordinate some of the different groups and the attack on some of the key issues," Allen told the New York Times. His Tackle Ebola website directs small donors to projects that are in need of financing, though to date only a handful of donors have contributed to projects through the site. Allen also is underwriting the administrative costs of the projects listed on the site and is paying for public service announcements to raise awareness of the crisis.
"The Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen," Allen said in a statement. "To effectively contain this outbreak and prevent it from becoming a global epidemic, we must pool our efforts to raise the funds, coordinate the resources, and develop the creative solutions needed to combat this problem. I am committed to doing my part in tackling this crisis."