Facebook’s Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have donated AUD$28.7 million to help fight Ebola.
Ebola is the devastating virus that is ravaging its way through West Africa, having now claimed almost 4,500 lives and has infected almost 9000 people. The death rate is high, with an average of 50 per cent of infected people dying within 6 to 16 days of the first symptoms. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Libera are the worst affected areas and a lack of financial and health worker resources has meant attempts to control the virus have been largely futile.
The money will go to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In a Facebook post, Mr Zuckerberg emphasised the need to stop the spread of Ebola, an epidemic that has reached “a critical turning point”.
“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long-term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio”, he wrote. “It is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed.”
“We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome,” he continued. “Grants like this directly help the front-line responders in their heroic work. These people are on the ground setting up care centers, training local staff, identifying Ebola cases and much more.”
Here at Wacky News, we believe Zuckerberg and wife deserve an award along with all the amazing health workers giving their time and skills to combat this humanitarian crisis. Zuckerberg and his wife have no personal stake in fighting Ebola. It’s not their families getting sick and stuck in hospitals with limited resources. Yet, they have decided to give.
It’s not about the powerful Western world saving poor, little Africa. It’s recognising our shared humanity and having compassion when another person, regardless of skin colour, is suffering. Like AIDS and polio, Ebola is not uncontrollable. Though there is no known treatment yet, the virus is still able to be contained and controlled if health workers are given the resources they need.
Compared to Zuckerberg and Chan’s $28.7 million donation, the Australian government has mustered a measly $18 million. In other words, one couple has outdone our entire nation in generosity. The government has also indicated an unwillingness to send Australian health workers over to West Africa because we do not have the guaranteed mechanisms needed to treat an infected health worker.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it would be “irresponsible of an Australian Government to order Australian personnel into this very dangerous situation if we didn’t have effective risk mitigation strategies in place”.
It is a tricky situation and ideally, no health worker should have to undergo the risk of being infected themselves. But it is also important to note that Ebola is only transmitted through bodily fluids and with the correct protocol, infection can be avoided. Regardless, this justification does not explain at least the lack of financial resources that have been sent over. It does not explain why one rich couple has managed to send more money than our entire nation.
This article was brought to you by Noble Awards, a company that loves to give awards to noble people.