The Legatum Foundation, the development arm of the Legatum Group, today announced a donation of $150,000 to the Ebola Crisis Fund, a fund established to help prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.
The current outbreak of Ebola, centred in Sierra Leone and Liberia has claimed more than 1550 lives and is threatening tens-of-thousands more. There is no proven vaccine or cure. The disease continues to spread with the Democratic Republic of Congo recently reporting its first cases.
Making the announcement, Mr. Alan McCormick, Managing Director of Legatum said, "This crisis is not yet over. Given the demographics, lack of local awareness about the disease and paucity of basic medical supplies, an Ebola contagion remains a significant threat to West Africa. Just a modest amount of funding can reduce this threat significantly by providing hygiene equipment and communications materials to increase awareness about the disease."
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the fatality rate for victims of Ebola is 52% (average). However, as the virus is passed on through touch rather than through the air as with a flu virus, it is possible to significantly slow Ebola's transmission through improved health and hygiene practices.
The Ebola Crisis Fund, managed by the US philanthropic advisor Geneva Global, aims to mobilise $1 million towards an initial six high impact interventions that will help stem the spread of the disease.
Mr. McCormick added, "Sometimes it only takes a garden hose to douse the flames of a potential forest fire. An early response will not only save lives today, but by cutting off the spread of the disease we can save many thousands more tomorrow. The Ebola Crisis Fund is a practical way for private donors, large and small, to make a difference to thousands of people and an important step in helping raise the $430m which the WHO claims is needed to halt the spread of Ebola."
Funds donated by Legatum and others to the Ebola Crisis Fund will enable mass public awareness programmes which will reach thousands of people, helping to slow the spread of Ebola and alleviate the suffering of victims and their families.