As Ebola marches through West Africa, inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment and medical resources expose doctors, nurses, and their patients to significant risk. In response, more than 20 leading medical companies are stepping up with critically needed items to facilitate a series of emergency shipments with logistical support from FedEx.
“The unprecedented scale of the outbreak has over-stretched local and even international public health institutions, so the mobilization of private resources, including from companies who make essential products or just want to help, can play a defining role in the collective effort to stem the outbreak,” said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief. “We are deeply thankful so many are stepping up to help in so many ways.”
The life-saving supplies – which amount to 40 tons and total 2.3 million gloves, 65,000 masks, 92,000 gowns, and 185,000 tabs of antibiotics – include products from 3M, Actavis Pharma, Inc., Ansell Healthcare, Basic Medical, Baxter International, Inc., BD, Cera Products, Inc., Covidien, Henry Schein, Inc., Kimberly-Clark, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Merck & Co., Inc., Mylan Laboratories, Inc., Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Omron Healthcare, Inc., Pfizer, Prestige Brands, Pro2 Solutions, Inc., Sappo Hill, and Teva.
“Ansell has a long-standing relationship with Direct Relief, and we are delighted they have been able to utilize our medical and industrial products for so many critical initiatives around the world,” said Tony Lopez, president of medical solutions at Ansell Healthcare. “As a global leader in protection solutions, Ansell is in a unique position to manufacture products on which consumers, workers, and healthcare professionals rely and that directly impact the lives of millions of people worldwide.”
Direct Relief – with financial support from Abbott Fund, AbbVie Foundation, Baxter International, BD, Covidien, Sappo Hill, and Pfizer – has already shipped more than 445,000 gloves, 20,000 gowns, 23,500 masks, 185,000 tabs of antibiotics, and 2,000 bars of soap to local clinics in Liberia and Sierra Leone – countries that comprise more than 70 percent of Ebola cases in the region.
“The Direct Relief shipment is absolutely critical, as we are almost out of our existing stock of gloves and gowns,” said Raphael Frankfurter, executive director of the Wellbody Alliance – the only health facility in Sierra Leone’s Kono district that provides comprehensive clinical and community-based care on an ongoing basis.
While hopeful the right resources and strategy can end the outbreak, medical staff in Liberia face similar challenges.
“There is a critical shortage of supplies and health workers are threatening to strike if materials are not available,” said John Ly, Medical Director for Liberia-based Last Mile Health.
“The Ebola epidemic is deadly – but we can stop it,” said Dr. Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health. “We must identify the sick rapidly. Treat them. Educate the public to prevent the disease from being spread to others. And that is exactly what Last Mile Health and our partners are doing.”
In addition to local health facilities such as Wellbody Alliance and Last Mile Health, Direct Relief is coordinating with the World Health Organization Emergency Operations Center, Liberian National Taskforce on Ebola, Center for Disease Control, and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
For more information on the Ebola response and how to help, follow this link.