A consortium of business leaders in the country, including the Africa Development Bank, has donated $34m to help the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease. According to the Chairperson of the African Union, Dr. Dlamini Zuma, who disclosed the donations at the inauguration of the Africa against Ebola Fund in Lagos on Thursday, the ADB and telecommunications giant, MTN, donated $10m each to the fund. Zuma said the donation was a pointer to the fact that Nigeria was ready to assist its neighbouring countries in the war against Ebola in West Africa. She also called on other governments in Africa to emulate the gesture and pledged the AU’s determination to rid the continent of the virus in the next six months.

Zuma said, “This was a very special mission because the AU is known for deploying soldiers to fight war in countries. But this time, the AU is not deploying soldiers to conflict zones, but it is deploying health workers to go and work and help their brothers and sisters, especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “As we all know, the Ebola outbreak in these three countries in particular is unprecedented in terms of its location, its duration, the number of infections and deaths. But more importantly, it has caused such panic and fears in the world.

“It also has caused pains on the families, health workers and on women, who are on the frontline of the disease and children. It has affected economic activities in these countries. “Having been to these three countries and seen the courage of the people in those countries and the efforts that the governments are making and those of the health workers who are striving to get this condition under control, I came back with hope, not only with hope but determination and conviction that indeed together, we can really stop Ebola.

“Most importantly, as a result of strains that the disease has brought to these countries, we realise that there is severe dearth of health workers. Even though the AU has sent a modest amount of volunteers to these countries, it became very clear that we need to send a lot more. A lot more doctors, technicians, epidemiologists, lab scientists, nurses and other volunteers that can help and bring this epidemic under control,” Also, the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute, charged the volunteers on professionalism.

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