With the Ebola virus disease outbreak killing 200 people on a single day this week, and the overall death toll nearing 2,300, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has proven himself more dedicated to stopping the spread of the deadly disease than the United States Congress, based on the amount of money each plans to spend to fight Ebola.
On Thursday, Bill Gates, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced that he would donate $50 million to efforts to contain the spread of the disease in Africa and treat patients there who have already come down with Ebola hemorrhagic fever disease.
“But on Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee indicated that it would allow only $40 million to go toward fighting the Ebola outbreak — less than half of the $88 million requested by U.S. President Barack Obama, and less than the amount donated by one man, Bill Gates.”
In Obama’s request, $58 million would have gone to the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority, the agency developing an anti-Ebola drug, to speed up development and production of that vital medication. But House Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, has already slashed that amount to just $15 million, the congressional news publication The Hill reported this week.
In a speech to the United Nations on September 2, Joanne Liu — President of the international aid group Doctors Without Borders — blasted governments around the world for failing to take the deadly Ebola disease outbreak seriously.
“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it,” Liu told the U.N. representatives. “Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. The (World Health Organization) announcement on August 8 that epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction.”
Just a week after Liu’s desperate call for help, the U.S. House apparently proved her point.
Meanwhile, the WHO announced Tuesday that the death toll from the Ebola disease outbreak jumped by 200 to a total of 2,296, with 4,293 cases of the disease on record. But the WHO also says that those official numbers are almost certainly far lower than the actual toll exacted by the seemingly relentless Ebola outbreak.
In Liberia, especially, the WHO said, Ebola cases are increasing “exponentially,” with that country suffering the highest number of Ebola cases out of all the affected African countries. In Liberia alone, 79 health care workers have died from Ebola while 152 have contracted the disease.
A spokesperson for Bill Gates said the $50 million for the Ebola fight, the largest amount ever given by the Gates Foundation to combat a disease, will be released immediately.