On Jan. 14, 2016, the World Health Organization reported that West Africa was free of the Ebola virus, bringing an end to the outbreak that began more than two years ago.
UPDATE: One day later, on Jan. 15th, a new case was reported in Sierra Leone. Categorized as a "flare-up," it was not unexpected by the global health community.
Paul G. Allen has been a leader in the fight against Ebola, committing $100 million to the effort and developing a program that brings strategic and targeted solutions to the global response to the outbreak.
The Paul G. Allen Ebola Program’s efforts have been intentionally diverse. During the early parts of the outbreak, we swiftly mobilized, alongside international governments and humanitarian and health organizations, to identify and address the most immediate needs, including supplies and support for on-the-ground efforts to halt the outbreak’s spread and care for those affected.
As Ebola progressed, we partnered with infectious disease leaders and practitioners worldwide, and drew from myriad resources and experts to develop innovative solutions to the evolving needs. For example, when it became clear that American medical workers were hesitant to serve in the affected countries for fear they would have limited access to medical evacuation if they became ill, we partnered with the U.S. Department of State to build two portable medevac units – greatly increasing U.S. medevac capacity – and created a fund to pick up the costs of evacuation not covered by a medical worker’s insurance.
As the outbreak began to wane, Mr. Allen focused his support on efforts to ensure that an outbreak like the West Africa Ebola outbreak is never repeated for the same reasons. In October, the Program committed another $11 million in grants to fund this type of work.
The fight against Ebola has taught us that there is room for innovation in the way the world responds to outbreaks, and new ideas and partnerships are critical to addressing these gaps.
Here is a look back at the Ebola outbreak and Paul G. Allen’s response efforts: