Sierra Leone Deputy Health Minister Visits Direct Relief, Ebola Innovation Summit

Thomas Tighe, CEO Direct Relief; Abdul Jalloh, CEO Medical Research Centre; Madina Rahman, Deputy Secretary, Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone

Thomas Tighe, CEO, Direct Relief (left); Abdul Jalloh, CEO, Medical Research Centre (center); Madina Rahman, Deputy Secretary, Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone (right)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., April 20, 2015 – Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madina Rahman, and Abdul Jalloh, Executive Director of Sierra Leone-based Medical Research Centre, today concluded a four-day visit to Direct Relief’s California headquarters to discuss emerging priorities and plan sustained interventions as Ebola cases wane and recovery efforts accelerate.

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have reported a total of 25,791 Ebola cases since the outbreak began last year, with more than 10,600 deaths reported.

During the visit, the Deputy Minister and Mr. Jalloh outlined the key priorities for strengthening Sierra Leone’s health system. These include ensuring that medical facilities are properly equipped with supplies and staff, that medical professionals have the training and tools they need to effectively care for patients, and that the public’s trust in the health system is reestablished and maintained.

To date, Direct Relief has supplied more than 500 health facilities in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone with more than $26 million worth (wholesale) of emergency medical aid in coordination with local partnerships. This includes 4.8 million gloves, 22.8 million defined daily doses of essential medicines, and 240,000 gowns and coveralls, among other aid items.

“Were it not for Direct Relief, their timely intervention, and all the support from their donors, we would not be where we are today,” said Deputy Minister Rahman. “We would have lost more lives than we have lost.”

Ebola Innovation Summit

The Deputy Minister’s visit precedes the Ebola Innovation Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 21. Convened by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, attendees include a mix of tech giants such as Google, household brands such as J&J, and global organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Direct Relief.

Alongside the United Nations, African Union, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Deputy Minister Rahman will open the event with a discussion of lessons learned and an appraisal of the current situation in her country.

“No one has a better understanding of Ebola’s tragic effects, what worked and didn’t work in responding to it, or has a bigger stake in preventing such future devastation than those in the affected countries,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief CEO.  “It’s an honor to host Deputy Minister Rahman and Mr. Jalloh, whose insights have guided Direct Relief’s efforts, and to join them at this important meeting, urging those whose innovations have so profoundly reshaped countless areas of modern life to do the same in confronting Ebola.”