The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $50 million to help fight the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.
It is the giant philanthropy’s biggest donation ever for a health emergency, said Chris Elias, president of global development for the Seattle-based foundation.
The money will be released immediately to United Nations agencies and international aid groups to help scale up emergency operations and buy medical and quarantine supplies.
An additional $2 million will go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for incident management, treatment and to help bolster overburdened health care systems in the hard hit countries.
“We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop transmission of this deadly disease,” Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann said in a statement.
The $50 million includes the $5 million the world’s richest philanthropy previously gave to the World Health Organization’s emergency operations, as well as an earlier donation of $5 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to buy medical supplies and support the emergency response in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The foundation said in a news release that it will also help accelerate development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for the Ebola virus.