As travel restrictions continue in affected areas, Bill and Melinda Gates have taken action to scale up emergency efforts.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that it will commit $50 million to support the scale up of emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and interrupt transmission of the virus.
The foundation will immediately release flexible funds to United Nations agencies and international organizations involved in the response to enable them and national governments to purchase badly needed supplies and scale up emergency operations in affected countries.
In addition, the foundation will work with public and private sector partners to accelerate the development of therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics that could be effective in treating patients and preventing further transmission of the disease.
“We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks.”
The announcement comes in wake of travel restrictions, which, according to experts, could limit the amount of medical supplies sent to affected areas – potentially hindering efforts to contain the outbreak.
The African Union (AU) has begged for the bans to be lifted.
The AU commission chief, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has warned that the restrictions have impacted drastically on the regions economy.
“Member states should lift all travel bans…to open up economic activities,” she said at an emergency meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The commissioner’s pleas came in wake of the World Health Organisation’s warnings that thousands more will be infected over the coming weeks.
To date, the Gates Foundation has committed more than $10 million to fight the Ebola outbreak, including $5 million to WHO for emergency operations and R&D assessments and $5 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to purchase essential medical supplies, coordinate response activities, and provide at-risk communities with life-saving health information.
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