TIGARD — Philanthropist Paul Allen of Seattle, owner of the Portland TrailBlazers and Seattle Seahawks, last month announced two additional partnerships with Tigard-based Medical Teams International and New York-based Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières as part of its comprehensive relief campaign to tackle the Ebola epidemic.
More volunteer medical professionals and facilities are desperately needed to turn the tide on the spread of the epidemic. The partnerships will focus on providing essential services, facilities and infrastructure for on-the-ground health providers working to contain the virus.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 3,000 people already have died and more than 6,200 probable, confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola have been reported. Experts say infections could soar to 1.4 million by mid-January.
“We’ve reached a crucial moment in the fight against Ebola,” said Allen. “With-out more resources and solutions for on-the-ground health workers, Ebola will continue to ravage West Africa. These courageous, selfless volunteers are the front line of defense in tackling Ebola, and we must do all we can to support those working to contain this virus.”
Support for Medical Teams Inter-national (MTI) will help to provide infrastructure, housing and transportation needs for MTI’s staff in Liberia.
As a key agency on the ground in Liberia, MTI has beem working with the Liberia Central Ministry of Health, as well as local county health and social welfare teams, to prep and train health workers and support community prevention methods. Specific efforts of MTI have included supporting infection control at 250 health clinics, contact tracing and case investigation, and preventative and responsive health care in refugee camps.
The funding will ensure that MTI’s staff members are properly equipped and able to continue their essential work to fight the virus.
“MTI has a long history of deep engagement in Liberia through building relationships and providing health programming to local communities. By partnering with Mr. Allen, we’re able to enhance our efforts to help lead the fight of responding to this deadly disease,” said Jeff Pinneo, president and CEO of MTI.
The partnership with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will support MSF’s existing Ebola emergency programs. MSF has been responding to the outbreak since it was first declared in March and has treated two-thirds of officially reported Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Beyond supporting the direct provision of care, Allen’s donation will go toward ongoing training and preparation of MSF international and national staff working as part of the organization’s Ebola response.
“MSF is grateful for the support and leadership of donors like Mr. Allen,” said Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF-USA. “His contribution is a critical element of the response to the largest Ebola outbreak in history.”
The partnership also will support expanding health facilities and bed capacity; improving health worker training around community health and education promotion; and providing technical support to beleaguered in-country health ministries, including helping Nigeria and Senegal prepare for a potential outbreak.
Allen has also launched Tackle Ebola, a campaign to raise awareness of the epidemic in the United States. As of last month, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has committed more than $20 million to stop the spread of Ebola.