Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and Priscilla Chan, his wife, have given $25 million to help in the Ebola fight. Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that he plans to give the money to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg says the Ebola epidemic is at a critical turning point and needs to be eradicated before it becomes a long-term health crisis, like HIV. He also pledged to help responders, whom he called heroes, on the front lines of the Ebola fight. His wife, a recent med school graduate, says the urgency of the situation is what led to the decision to donate.
The grant comes at a time when relief organizations need the most help. Being called the worst outbreak in history, Ebola has infected at least 8,000 people and has killed more than four thousand worldwide. Officials say the disease can be stopped, but time is running out. Health leaders say many more people will die if the world doesn’t step up and take action. Projections suggest it could affect one million people or more over the next several months if not addressed.
A Texas nurse who became infected treating an Ebola victim is said to be recovering. Nina Pham was the first patient in the U.S to contract Ebola. The disease is spread by bodily fluids and doctors suspect Pham became infected while removing her protective clothing. Others, who came in contact with the infected patient, are showing no signs of the illness.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has estimated that at least $1 billion will be needed to fight the disease. Even though, 25-million dollars is far from that number, Facebook’s Zuckerberg believes the donation is the fastest way to help the CDC and the experts in this Ebola fight. CDC officials plan to use the funds to help in efforts to treat, and stop the spread of Ebola which has extended beyond West Africa and is now a point of concern in the U.S. The gift will boost the CDC’s Global Disaster response fund that will provide emergency operations, training, equipment, and other needs for CDC experts on the ground.
Zuckerberg is the latest in a line of philanthropists dedicating their attention to eradicating this crisis. Last month, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation gave $50 million to the United Nations and other international response organizations. Prior to that, Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen gave $20 million to the cause. Relief and philanthropic organizations say donors have been slow to give because private donors viewed the epidemic as an overseas issue. They hope Zuckerberg and Chan’s generosity will encourage others to give.
Zuckerberg and Chan are making the grant from their nonprofit Silicon Valley Community foundation. The generous $25 million Ebola donation is a drop in the bucket compared to past philanthropic efforts of the Facebook king. In 2013, the couple set a record for charitable giving by donating Facebook shares worth nearly $1 billion to their foundation. The Facebook CEO is said to be worth more than 29-billion dollars and pledges to donate at least half of his wealth to charitable causes.
by Angela Jones