Minister Sherlock announces over €1 million in additional funding to fight Ebola outbreak

Budget/funding, Emergencies, Health, News/feature, Africa, Sierra Leone, 2014

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.

 ENDS

Press Office
2 October 2014

 Notes for the Editor:

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie 
  • The Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in March 2014 has since spread rapidly to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and most recently Senegal. The WHO has declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. 
  • International Medical Corps (IMC) is a global, humanitarian, non-profit organization that provides health care training and relief and development programs www.internationalmedicalcorps.org 
  • To date, Ireland has provided funding of €1 million to organisations working on the Ebola response in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
  • This includes €660,000 to UNICEF and €350,000 to Concern (€85,100), Goal (€80,000), World Vision Ireland (€40,000), International Rescue Committee (€100,000), Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Liberia (€44,350) to support their community-based programmes which will raise awareness of the transmission and prevention of the disease and to assist in its containment.
  • Irish Aid has dispatched 42 tonnes worth of practical equipment including blankets, tarpaulin, tents, mosquito nets, soap bar, jerry cans, and water tanks.
  • A further €350,000 has been provided by the Start Fund, which is an NGO pooled fund mechanism supported by Ireland and the UK. 
  • Sierra Leone is a key partner country for Ireland and bilateral programme aid from Ireland to Sierra Leone was €3.9 million in 2013, with over €2m spent on health and nutrition programmes.
  • Liberia is a partner country for Ireland and bilateral programme aid to Liberia from Ireland was €5.6 million in 2013. There is a strong focus on strengthening basic primary health care services.
  • In addition to bilateral aid, Ireland provides funding of approximately €6.8 million per annum for long-term development assistance to NGOs, as well as Irish missionaries, in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. This supports programmes in the areas of health, food and livelihoods, education and human rights. 
  • Ireland is also contributing human resources - the Department of Health has deployed two public health specialists to work with WHO to assist efforts in both Liberia and Nigeria.