Combining Government and Private Sector Support to Beat Back Ebola
Pierce Nelson, Vice President for Communications at the CDC Foundation
For 10 days in January, I joined two of my CDC Foundation colleagues on a trip to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The purpose was to see first-hand how private-sector funds contributed to the CDC Foundation are being used to make a difference in these countries.
In support of CDC, the CDC Foundation has raised more than $50 million in donations in donations that are being deployed in West Africa. These funds are advancing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) response, one in which CDC is working with local and international partners in each country.
Support from international governments, including the United States, has been critical to the response. And working in a supportive role, funding from private sector donors—including individuals, philanthropies and corporations—is providing flexibility to address many of the real-time needs that arise as well as longer-term solutions to public health challenges in the region.[bctt tweet=”The CDC Foundation has raised more than $50 million in donations that are being deployed in West Africa”]
In recent months, tremendous progress has been made in the fight against Ebola in West Africa. Efforts on the ground in this region are impressive, but much work remains to push Ebola cases to zero.
While in West Africa, we heard heart-breaking stories, including one from Liberia about 30 people living in one home who contracted Ebola—29 ultimately died. But we heard stories of hope as well. After being closed for six months, for instance, schools in Liberia were preparing to reopen, and subsequently did reopen last week, as weekly cases there dropped to single digits.
We also saw CDC Foundation donor funding in action. Examples include the purchase of 206 vehicles for transporting lab samples, supplies, patients and bodies of the deceased; vital lab equipment for speeding Ebola tests; and communications to help change practices around social traditions that contribute to the spread of the virus.
To share insights about the response in West Africa, CDC Foundation staff have posted a number of blogs with photos. Stories of the courage of public health workers are featured in one blog. Another conveys how private-sector funding is being used, such as at CDC’s lab in Bo, Sierra Leone, which has run more than 10,000 Ebola tests since opening last fall. Others highlight how donor funding is supporting technology used by contact tracers in Liberia to follow up on those potentially infected with Ebola, social mobilization campaigns in Sierra Leone, and progress in turning back Ebola in Guinea. For more posts, go to the CDC Foundation’s web site.
At the CDC Foundation, we are honored to help advance CDC’s life-saving work in West Africa. We look forward to the day when Ebola is defeated and no longer a threat to the people of this region or the citizens of the world.