Coca-Cola joins fight against Ebola - CNBC Africa

Coca-Cola joins fight against Ebola

East Africa

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

The Coca-Cola Foundation has joined international efforts to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. PHOTO: Nigeria Monitor/Coke

The foundation has donated 200,000 US dollars to Ebola struck countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - with a strong focus on healthcare workers.

“We have just done a humanitarian intervention, delivered about 200,000 US dollars worth of protective equipment that is going to be distributed among healthcare workers. As you know health care workers have been the most affected, probably have a higher death rate than the average population,” Susan Mboya-Kidero, president of The Coca Cola Foundation told CNBC Africa.

The deadly Ebola virus has not only taken a substantial toll on health workers but has also damaged healthcare systems in destitute West African countries that were already lacking human and infrastructural resources. With this in mind, the foundation has made it their priority to ensure all healthcare workers in Ebola struck nations are safe by providing protective gear, medical equipment and so on.

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“The foundation realises that there is a gap [in healthcare system in African countries] but it is not my choice by governments as their government normally has many priorities. Many countries are not yet at the development level where we can fund everything but health is still essential,” Mboya-Kidero said.

In West Africa, economic growth in the hardest hit states are forecasted to reduce by 2 per cent as cross-border markets have been shut down and farmers have fled affected zones, leaving decayed crops in fields, a significant contributor to the GDP. The World Bank revised down its economic growth estimate for Guinea by one percentage point following the deadly epidemic.

The Ebola virus is said to be infecting five people every hour. The outbreak has claimed more than 3,400 lives and more than 7,400 suspected, probable and confirmed cases have been reported in West Africa and in the United States as well as Spain, which both have one case each.

According to an estimate by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, over 550,000 people may be infected by the virus by January 2015 if the epidemic is not brought under control.

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