In an effort to help fight the spread of Ebola, The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) announced last Thursday that it received an award of $7.5 million to provide much needed resources to fight Ebola in Liberia. The generous endowment will help provide immediate assistance to the West African country by supplying disaster relief and management teams, disease specialists and physicians.
UMMS currently has existing programs that provide training, education and medical supplies to Liberia. With this new grant, it will expand and help to further the institutions objectives and ongoing efforts for much needed health care services for Liberian citizens. Since the crisis began, UMMS and their clinical partners UMass Memorial Health Care, have managed to send two shipments to West Africa of personal protection equipment that they managed to collect in response to this serious outbreak.
Faculty members of UMMS applied for this grant through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation who had already donated $100 million to the Tackle Ebola non-profit campaign recently. The funding is desperately needed and will provide for proper training, larger facilities and medical personnel that can respond adequately to this epidemic. The relief efforts will be directed and overseen by associate professor of pediatrics, Dr. Patricia McQuilkin, and Dr. Michelle Niescierenko, an emergency pediatrician and a director at Boston Children’s Hospital for the Global Health Program.
Through a collaboration of efforts from institutions like UMMS, non-governmental organizations and other partnerships, the resources needed to combat Ebola can continue to be supplied to this economically disadvantaged country. With the virus reaching over 4,900 deaths and an anticipated 20,000 reported cases by November, according to the World Health Organization, the disaster relief funding comes at a much needed and crucial time.