By Andy Sambidge
Funding will be used to buy vital equipment to help schools, hospitals to battle spread of disease in West Africa
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has extended a grant of $35 million to help fight Ebola in West Africa.
In a statement, Dr Ahmed Mohamed Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) said that the Ebola fighting programme had been initiated by King Abdullah and would be implemented by IDB.
Its aims include providing schools with thermal sensors and medical examination equipment designed to diagnose the disease, thereby facilitating its treatment and preventing its spread.
The equipment will allow governments to open schools for the current academic year. Pupils will be examined at entry to ensure they have not contracted the disease, thus reassuring parents about the safety of their children at school.
The funds will also provide thermal sensors and medical examination equipment at airports, railway stations and bus stations to diagnose the disease and ensure early treatment.
The programme also aims at establishing a specialised treatment centre in each of the three endemic countries - Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, designed to serve suspected cases in schools, hospitals and public transport, and wherever contamination is likely to occur in crowded conditions.
Suspected cases will be received in these centres for further medical tests before they are referred for specialized treatment if necessary.
The funding will also help to set up a specialised treatment centre in Mali where Ebola appears to have broken out but is not widespread. The centre will help the country’s health authorities cope with potential epidemics in the future.
The IDB president said the donation made by King Abdullah "will further boost the Islamic world efforts in supporting the international fight against Ebola".
He added that the equipment financed by this donation will speed up the opening of schools in the countries concerned, reinforce the institutional and health infrastructure to fight the current epidemic and any potential epidemics in the future.