747 Jets to West Africa as Ebola Response Pivots toward Recovery

Pallets of Ebola supplies from Direct Relief loading onto 747 at Los Angeles International Airport, bound for Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Pallets of Ebola supplies from Direct Relief loading onto 747 at Los Angeles International Airport, bound for Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Direct Relief Delivers 83 Health Facility Supply Modules, Prescription Medicines to Help Revitalize Ebola-Affected Health Facilities

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Feb. 4, 2015 – A Direct Relief-chartered Boeing 747 departed Los Angeles International Airport today carrying more than $7 million in prescription medicines as well as supply modules to sufficiently equip 83 health facilities in Liberia and Sierra Leone for several months. The supplies will help restore medical facilities weakened by the worst outbreak of Ebola in history.

Each module contains 36 essential supplies needed to operate a functional medical clinic for several months.

Each module contains 36 essential supplies needed to operate a functional medical clinic for several months.

With the substantial decrease in new Ebola cases in recent weeks, the airlift represents a pivot toward helping local health facilities deal with both the pre-existing health challenges exacerbated by the outbreak as well as the still serious threats that Ebola presents.

Dozens of primary care facilities shuttered during the crisis; malaria and other conditions went untreated; vaccination programs were suspended, prompting a recent measles outbreak; and pregnancy-related complications saw an uptick as more women gave birth at home.

“As the focus shifts to long-term health systems strengthening in West Africa, these items will help restore confidence in health care for both providers and people seeking care,” said Andrew MacCalla, Director of Emergency Response and International Programs at Direct Relief.

Each module contains 36 of the essential supplies needed to operate a functional medical clinic for two months, including items such as surgical gowns, gloves, masks, lanterns, medical disposal bins, and non-contact thermometers. The contents were developed in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ministry of Health of Liberia, and Last Mile Health.

Surgical gown sets donated by the City of Yokohama, Japan are part of the supply modules.

Surgical gown sets donated by the City of Yokohama, Japan are part of the supply modules.

The supplies contained in the modules were donated, in part, by the City of Yokohama, 3M, BD, California Nurses Foundation, and One Million Lights. Additional supplies were purchased through a grant from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Another 17 modules will ship later in the month for a total of 100 modules. In Liberia, 40 modules will be distributed by Last Mile Health. In Sierra Leone, 10 modules will be distributed by Wellbody Alliance and 50 modules will be distributed by Medical Research Centre. Prescription medicines contained on the airlift will also be delivered to all three of these partners, as well as to Africare in Liberia.

The pharmaceutical supplies were made possible by Accord Healthcare, Inc., Actavis Pharma, Inc., Bayer Corporation – USA, Baxter International, Inc., GSK, Hospira, Inc., Mylan Inc., Prestige Brands, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Since Direct Relief began responding to the Ebola outbreak last spring, the organization has sent 40 shipments of Ebola relief aid valued at $25 million (wholesale), which have been distributed to more than 1,000 clinics and health centers in West Africa, in coordination with partner agencies.

More than 300 pallets of supplies were loaded on the plane bound for West Africa.

More than 300 pallets of supplies were loaded on the plane bound for West Africa.