The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday announced a $50 million commitment to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The foundation will donate the money to the United Nations and other international organizations working on the ground to curb the massive outbreak. The foundation will also help fund medical firms researching vaccines, treatments and technologies to fight the deadly disease.
The foundation said it will give $5 million to the U.N.’s World Health Organization, $5 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and $2 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop transmission of this deadly disease,” said Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation. “We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation answered questions about the Ebola funding project on Twitter Wednesday.
The only way to make these crises less likely is to build functioning health services around the world. -SueDHellmann #EbolaChat
â€” Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) September 10, 2014
The Ebola outbreak has claimed the lives of at least 2,288 people in recent months, nearly all in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About half of those deaths have occurred since mid-August. The three countries' weak health care systems are overwhelmed by the outbreak. International aid organizations mostly working under the World Health Organization report a serious lack of funds and resources to deal with the outbreak.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved President Barack Obama’s request for $88 million in funding to fight the Ebola outbreak. The World Health Organization pledged $100 million in late July.