Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North-South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today announced over €1 million in extra funding to strengthen efforts to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Minister Sherlock made the announcement during his two-day visit to Sierra Leone.
Today’s announcement brings Ireland’s total contribution to the Ebola response to over €2.5 million.
This extra funding will provide urgently needed extra beds in treatment facilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia. It will be used by International Medical Corps (IMC) to improve treatment centres in both countries, which have reached full capacity and face considerable pressure from the growing number of cases. The local and international staff will be trained in infection control and Ebola treatment.
Announcing the funding from Sierra Leone, Minister Sherlock said:
“My visit to Sierra Leone has shown me how grave the situation remains here. The continued spread of Ebola is having a devastating impact on already vulnerable communities across West Africa.
“This additional funding will go towards providing beds in an Ebola Treatment Centre with wards for suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola, ambulance services for patient transport, and safe burial at designated sites.
“Stopping this Ebola outbreak requires a comprehensive and co-ordinated response from the international community in support of the affected countries. We need to halt the spread of the disease through awareness-raising while at the same time increasing the capacity of the local health systems to treat those already infected.
“Ireland will continue to work closely with our EU, UN, NGO, and other international partners to improve and co-ordinate our efforts to effectively deal with this crisis.”
During his visit to Freetown Minister Sherlock met the President of Sierra Leone along with a range of Government Ministers, UN organisations, the WHO, and NGO partners including Concern, GOAL, International Rescue Committee, Red Cross, and Médecins Sans Frontières.
Minister Sherlock made field visits to the Freetown Ebola Operations Centre supported by Concern and to communities supported by Goal to see how Irish assistance is directly contributing to tackling the epidemic on the ground.
Ireland has also provided over 42 tonnes of practical equipment including blankets, tarpaulin, tents, mosquito nets, soap, jerry cans, and water tanks to be distributed to affected communities.
2 October 2014
Notes for the Editor: