The virus continues to ravage the Mano River Union (MRU) basin; it has claimed thousands of lives, with Liberia being the worst hit.
The USAID money is part of a total US$142M additional assistance made available to the worst affected three MRU countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, to boost the fight against the killer disease.
USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, made the disclosure on Tuesday, October 14, when he addressed a joint press conference along with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Borge Brende, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
This amount, the USAID Administrator said, is to be committed through technical assistances such as expanding critical training of local health workers, building of more Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), provision of more logistics and all that will help in containing the virus in the affected countries.
He indicated that the US government has now put into place the most significant disease control effort it has ever carried out outside of the US in order to ensure that the virus is contained.
“The US government is now coordinating strong response strategies that will ensure that Ebola is contained. We have a commitment of more than US$400M already for the fight and over 600 trained medical and military personnel in the affected region.
“This is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s largest effort ever in fighting an epidemic outside of the US. The US government is pleased to announce an additional US$142M to the Ebola fight in West Africa. US$65M of this amount will focus on Liberia,” Dr. Shah said.
The US government, through the USAID boss, also announced an additional US$5M as an assistance directly to the Liberian government that will help in handling health workers’ issues in the country.
This donation, and many others that have come in recent times, are ensuring that the battle against the deadly virus continues to gain momentum, especially from the global front; a move that was initially anticipated when the threat of the virus was gradually mounting at its onset.
Donations began to pull in when eminent Africans including Ghanaian President and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), John D. Mahama, was critical of the international community and world powers for being slow in their response to the outbreak.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who also addressed the joint press conference, said that he had come to show solidarity and sympathy on behalf of his government and the people of Norway.
Minister Brende indicated that health matters are crucial to any country and as such his government has been strongly involved in the ongoing global effort to contain a disease that continues to claim many lives on a daily basis in the region.
He disclosed that the Kingdom of Norway will soon send health experts, who have signed up as volunteers to the three affected countries to help bring the disease under control. He noted that since the outbreak his government has committed more than US60M to the fight in the MRU region.
The Norwegian Foreign Minister also disclosed that his government is committing an additional US$15M to the affected nations through the World Health Organization (WHO).
Speaking earlier, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf praised the two countries for the level of support that they have demonstrated since the outbreak. “They have been steadfast partners and friends. Through their governments we were able to achieve many things, some of which have been threatened by the Ebola outbreak,” the Liberian leader said.