Ebola Fund Established in South Africa

Pretoria - The Department of Health has made an urgent call to the country's private sector to donate to the Ebola Response Fund to assist the countries affected by the virus.

The department, which created the Ebola Response Fund, has set a goal of raising R250 million to coordinate and manage relief assistance for the affected countries.

More than 5 000 cases and over 2 600 deaths have been reported as of 18 September 2014, primarily in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The objective of the fund is to support South Africa's drive to assist the affected countries to halt the social and humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in the region.

Department of Health Director-General Malebona Matsoso reported that a number of major companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange have also pledged their support in cash and in kind to the Ebola Response Fund. The pledges were made during a meeting convened by the Director-General on 19 September 2014 at the JSE.

Matsoso noted that a pledge to donate money to the Ebola Response Fund will go a long way in helping Africa tackle this social and humanitarian crisis.

"We are counting on South Africa's private sector to actively support this attempt to stop the spread of the Ebola virus across the continent. We believe that corporate South Africa will respond positively to this clarion call to assist the affected countries.

"We are grateful to a number of major South African companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, who have already pledged millions to the Ebola Response Fund, as well as committing their companies to other in-kind contributions," Matsoso said.

The donations will be used to support the immediate response to the unfolding crisis in the following areas:

* Setting up a 40-bed Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone
* Provision of qualified people to staff the treatment unit
* Strengthening of the surveillance system and database
* Supporting social mobilisation efforts in the communities in affected countries
* Expanding laboratory capacity, and
* Project management

The department is also working with the World Health Organisation to coordinate and harmonise support for the response to the Ebola outbreak.
The South African Government has already committed R32.5 million.
Matsoso said that contributions in cash or in kind to the Ebola Response Fund will be managed by the University of the Witwatersrand (Faculty of Health Sciences and Right to Care) working in partnership with the Department of Health.

The Department of Health will work with the World Health Organisation country office to coordinate all efforts. All funds will be audited and strict corporate governance will be adhered to.

Companies wishing to donate are asked to contact Dr Barry Kistnasamy at 082 806 7210 or barry@fnbconnect.co.za.

- SAnews.gov.za