Zuckerberg Donates to Ebola Fight
16 October 2014 at 9:29 am
Facebook founder and philanthropist Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have pledged $US25 million to the US Centers for Disease Control Foundation to help fight the deadly Ebola disease – one of the largest single donations so far.
On Zuckerberg’s Facebook page he said the Ebola epidemic is at a critical turning point.
“It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed.
“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn't spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio.
“We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.
“Grants like this directly help the frontline responders in their heroic work. These people are on the ground setting up care centers, training local staff, identifying Ebola cases and much more.
“We are hopeful this will help save lives and get this outbreak under control,” he said.
“The unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taken the lives of more than 4,000 of the 8,400 people infected with the disease,” Zuckerberg said in his post.
“This is not just a problem for West Africa, it’s not just a problem for Africa. It’s a problem for the world, and the world needs to respond,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said.
“Since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ramped up its Ebola response in early July, more than 700 CDC staff members have provided logistics, staffing, communication, analytics, management, and other support functions. More than 100 CDC staff have been deployed in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone assisting with various vital response efforts such as surveillance, contact tracing, database management, and health education.
“The CDC Foundation is assisting CDC by providing critical assistance and supplies through donations to the Foundation’s Global Disaster Response Fund, which enables CDC staff to respond quickly to changing circumstances and needs.
“To strengthen the response going forward, the CDC Foundation is working with donors to provide much-needed supplies and equipment for use on the ground in West Africa.
“These items include personal protective equipment, infection control tools, ready-to-eat meals, generators, vehicles and motorcycles, hiring of locally employed staff, exit screening tools and supplies at airports such as thermal scanners to detect fever,” Frieden said.
Zuckerberg joins a short list of significant US philanthropists who have joined the fight against Ebola including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which pledged $50 million to U.N. agencies, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation which donated almost $12 million and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which has donated $5 million to a number of international health organisations.
In Australia Red Cross says it has raised more than $480,000 through the Ebola Outbreak 2014 Appeal, via donations from the Australian public. The Federal Government has provided $18 million to Not for Profits working in the outbreak regions.
Learn more about the fight against Ebola here.