MONROVIA, Liberia, October 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced nearly $142 million in humanitarian projects and grants to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Shah made the announcement after meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in the capital city of Monrovia. It was the first stop in a week-long trip for Shah to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Senegal to meet with national and local officials, aid organizations, and staff involved in the international response to the Ebola outbreak. The announcement brings total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Ebola crisis to more than $258 million.
“Stopping Ebola in West Africa will require a significant international effort, and the United States urges our global partners to provide additional assistance to help bring the outbreak under control,” said Shah. “We are helping affected countries gain positive and strong momentum by the day, but much more must be done to win this fight.”
The new projects and grants will support:
• Construction and support of additional Ebola treatment units in partnership with the affected countries and international organizations;
• Training and support for health care workers and safe burial teams;
• The Government of Liberia’s strategy to establish and staff community care centers, which, in tandem with Ebola treatment units, will provide another level of Ebola isolation and care to communities while helping to break the chain of transmission; and
• Critical logistics support for international partners working in West Africa.
Since the first cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa in March 2014, the United States has moved quickly to contain and stop the epidemic, while also taking prudent measures at home. In West Africa, USAID works alongside partner countries and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and colleagues from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), State, Defense, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are currently more than 600 U.S. government personnel in West Africa, including a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team coordinating overall Ebola response efforts, making this the largest-ever U.S. response to a global health crisis.
As the United States continues to scale up its response in West Africa, particularly with the arrival of Department of Defense personnel and resources, U.S. support has already helped increase the number of Ebola treatment units (ETU) in the region to 12, with additional ETUs coming online in the weeks ahead; supported the salaries of state health workers and the deployment of doctors and nurses by the African Union; supported 56 safe burial teams now working in every county in Liberia to safely and respectfully dispose of bodies within 24 hours; funded aggressive social change outreach and education that reaches deep into even the most rural locations of the affected countries; helped to more than double lab capacity in Liberia to determine if a patient has Ebola; and procured and delivered hundreds of thousands of sets of personal protective equipment and other personal protective supplies, among others.
For more information about USAID’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, please visit www.usaid.gov/ebola.