DUBLIN, Ireland, November 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, and the Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today announced new funding of over €220,000 to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Today’s funding, to the NGO Plan, will support families in Sierra Leone who have been quarantined as a result of Ebola by providing food packages, fuel and other vital supplies.
The funding announced today is in addition to more than €4 million of Irish Government money being released this week to strengthen health services and tackle Ebola in West Africa.
This €4 million will help strengthen the health system in Liberia, one of the three countries in West Africa most affected by the Ebola outbreak. It is part of Ireland’s long term commitment to strengthening the fragile Liberian health system. It will support a programme which provides free basic healthcare to the most vulnerable people in Liberia, estimated at one quarter of the total population.
In 2014, Ireland will provide over €17 million to affected countries in West Africa, directly and through NGOs.
Announcing the support, Minister Flanagan said:
“I am pleased to announce, together with my colleague Minister Sherlock, that we have approved additional funding to tackle the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.
“At last week’s meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, Ebola was again high on the agenda and the importance of enhancing the support for health workers and building health systems on the groups in affected countries was highlighted in the Council’s Conclusions.”
“Health is the main focus of Ireland’s development programme in Liberia and the Ebola outbreak has clearly shown the need for continued support investment in fragile health systems.
“The funding of €4 million will support health workers and provide for drug procurement and distribution; providing vital, life-saving care to some of the most vulnerable people.
“Supporting the motivation and retention of professional health workers within the Liberian health system is a crucial element of tackling the Ebola outbreak in the country.”
Minister Sherlock, who recently was the first European Minister to visit Sierra Leone since the crisis began, said:
“The levels of transmission of Ebola continue to be a cause of grave concern, with suspected cases now topping 15,000.
“Ebola will only be halted at its source in West Africa and the international community must continue to do all it can to contain this deadly virus.
“In addition to strengthening the health systems of affected countries, tackling Ebola effectively involves supporting families who have been quarantined because of a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola.”
Speaking about the funding for Plan in Sierra Leone, Minister Sherlock added:
“The new funding announced today for the Ebola response will help to reduce transmission of the disease by encouraging communities to work with the authorities to isolate potential cases.
“These communities must receive the essential assistance they need when quarantined. We cannot expect people to remain in their homes without basic food and other provisions. I have seen at first hand the fragility of the systems combating this disease and this funding will aid in that fight.
“Bringing the Ebola outbreak under control will be impossible without the full engagement of local communities in the response.”