The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity run by Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and his wife, announced Wednesday that it would be donating $US50 million toward fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
This marks the largest donation to a humanitarian cause from the foundation, according to the Associated Press. The group had previously donated $US10 million toward fighting the outbreak in West Africa.
“By fighting Ebola now, we can make sure it doesn’t become an epidemic in [West] Africa,” Gates tweeted on Wednesday.
The record pledge was largely inspired by a request from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for $US600 million to fight the epidemic. The virus has killed more than 2,000 people across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria and is spreading at an uncontrollable rate.
A statement from the Gates Foundation said: “To date, the Gates Foundation has committed more than $US10 million of the $US50 million to fight the Ebola outbreak, including $US5 million to WHO for emergency operations and R&D assessments and $US5 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to purchase essential medical supplies, coordinate response activities, and provide at-risk communities with life-saving health information.”
On Thursday, Reuters reported that fellow Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen would announce that he would be donating $US9 million to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to help fight the virus.
Both commitments from the tech giants come at a critical time as the World Health Organisation and Doctors Without Borders have said there is a severe shortage of resources to contain the Ebola outbreak.