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Gates Foundation Promises $50 million to Fight Ebola

Update Date: Sep 10, 2014 05:32 PM EDT

To tackle the escalating crisis of Ebola in Africa, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation committed $ 50 million on Tuesday.

The Ebola virus in Western Africa has infected nearly 4,300 people of which 2,296 died. At least 240 healthcare workers were among the dead. The outbreak has affected five countries, with Liberia reported more than half the number of infections and deaths. The World Health Organization earlier estimated that the outbreak would affect 20,000 people before it can be controlled. Meanwhile healthcare workers have made desperate calls for greater participation and aid from the international community.

In response, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $ 50 million to UN agencies in addition to $ 5 million for emergency operations and $ 5 million to create mass awareness about the deadly, NBC News reported.

The foundation would work with international agencies to speed up work on development of drugs and vaccine to fight the virus, CEO of the Foundation, Sue Desmond-Hellmann told BBC.

"We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now. We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks," Desmond said.

Reporting the announcement, Forbes said that the foundation would give $ 2 million to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

While funding would immensely help healthcare workers fight the disease, the international community of healthcare experts working to control the outbreak have repeatedly highlighted the unaddressed shortage of expert healthcare workers in nations worst hit.

"While funding announcements, roadmaps, and finding vaccines and treatments are welcome, they will not stop the epidemic today. It is imperative that states immediately deploy civilian and military assets with expertise in biohazard containment," Dr Joanne Liu, International President, Medecins Sans Frontieres said last week, according to BBC.

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