MARKHAM, ON, Canada – Canadians responded generously to provide much-needed medical supplies and support for the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia. Hundreds of people across the country responded to an urgent appeal to help effect:hope (The Leprosy Mission Canada) and Medical Assistance Programs (MAP) International transport supplies and additional staff to the West African nation.
In four days effect:hope donors contributed over $40,000 to help MAP International deploy over 50 trained Ebola response and case isolation health workers, and ship and distribute 4,800 Personal Protective Equipment kits to field health workers in the affected region. These funds augment the federal government contribution of $1,285,000, and are in response to Health Minister Rona Ambrose’s call for wider support for the outbreak.
effect:hope already works with MAP International in three Ebola-affected counties in Liberia to reduce the burden of leprosy and Buruli ulcer, two Neglected Tropical Diseases that cause significant health, socio-economic problems. The emergency relief funds will help to contain the spread of Ebola, and reduce mortality because of it. The funds will also protect the organization’s partner health workers who are responding to the crisis.
“Our health workers in Liberia, who typically help those with leprosy and Buruli ulcer, are now risking their own lives to intervene in the Ebola outbreak,” said Executive Director Peter Derrick, “I am thrilled by the swift flood of support from Canadians who want to stop this grave health threat.” Regular effect:hope programs have stopped due to the outbreak.
effect:hope has been working with the Ministry of Health in Liberia for more than two years. With local partner MAP International, they were among the first to respond to the emergency created by the Ebola virus.
“The Ebola virus is terrifying. We want to control it soon, so that no one else loses their life,” explained Zeela Zaizay, MAP International Liberia Country Director, “…but health workers are vulnerable to the virus without appropriate protection. We are striving to protect the health workers who are willing to take the risk, or who are already in harm’s way. It was difficult to get 12 of 47 workers to go to an Isolation Centre in Foyah. Those who are volunteering must not die. We are so glad for Canadian support; this will help a great deal.”
effect:hope will continue to monitor the outbreak, and with compassionate Canadians, assist as necessary.