Georgia medical assistance organizations MedShare and MAP Internatoinal are collaborating to provide medical equipment and medicines to Guinea, Libera and Sierra Leon under a joint Ebola control and prevention program.
A shipment of protective clothing, primarily latex gloves, from MedShare was airlifted to West Africa on Sept. 5 by Belgium’s national carrier, Brussels Airlines.
Containers of similar goods highly in demand in the region are to be sent in coming weeks including medicines from MAP International.
The Coca-Cola Foundation is donating $200,000 for the shipping of protective clothing and other necessary aids for the primary care of patients with the virus.
Andrea Berry, marketing and communications manager at MedShare, told Global Atlanta following a send-off ceremony at the organization’s 48,500-square-foot warehouse that MedShare has been responding since May to the numerous Ebola-related requests from healthcare professionals it already was serving.
Ms. Berry called the collaboration “a perfect fit” with the two working together again. She said that MedShare is to provide medical equipment and MAP International the necessary pharmaceuticals.
Prior to Sept. 5, MedShare already had shipped five 40-foot containers to West Africa with the support of numerous locally based companies and foundations including United Parcel Service Inc. and the Rockdale Foundation.
The Gbowee Peace Foundation USA named after Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian peace activitist and 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, airlifted 400 boxes with a total of $50,000 of equipment from MedShare to seven communities in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital.
Djene Conde, Guinea’s first lady, visited MedShare’s office in August for a briefing about MedShare’s assistance to West African hospitals and encouraged MedShare officials to send as many supplies as possible.
Katie Pace, a spokesperson for MAP International, said that her organization has been working with health workers on the ground in West Africa since March when the disease was first identified. MAP has offices on the African continent in Liberia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
MedShare and MAP International also worked together following the devastation in the Philippines created by Typhoon Haiyan and to combat certain tropical diseases.
Aboubacar Balde, president of the Atlanta-based Guinean-American Communities United, an umbrella organization for all the Guinean communities in the U.S., told Global Atlanta that he first learned of the Ebola outbreak in Atlanta from the news, “Like everyone else.”
His organization has been coordinating a nationwide effort to raise funds for the hospitals in Guinea and is helping organize a fund raising event to be held on Oct. 9 at the Carter Center to support MedShare.
Cynthia B. Nash, Liberia’s honorary consul based in Atlanta, said that she had been traveling in Liberia in March with a delegation visiting universities and technical schools there.
While acknowledging the seriousness of the outbreak, she said that she feared widespread ignorance of the disease would provide an economic setback for the entire continent.
Representatives in the tourism industry have reported to her that trips to South Africa and East Africa have been cancelled due to the outbreak.
In contrast to such unreasonable responses, she cited the comments of Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who has warned against isolationist reactions that make the transportation of medicines and equipment from elsewhere in the world even more difficult.
She also cited the response of J. Scott Angle, dean and director of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who said that he would support hatchery programs in West Africa as soon as it became reasonable to do so.
“We won’t be giving up in your time of need,” she quoted him as saying.