TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Dozens of companies to ship supplies to areas stricken by Ebola outbreak

Nearly two dozen companies have volunteered to provide much-needed items to health workers battling to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, where the death toll has risen above 1,000.

Forty tons of gloves, masks, gowns and antibiotics will be shipped with logistical support from FedEx to disease-stricken areas.

With support from several organizations, Direct Relief-a nonprofit group that seeks to provide medical supplies to countries affected by disaster, disease and poverty-has already shipped supplies to local clinics in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where more than 70 percent of the region's Ebola cases have been confirmed.

The World Health Organization said in a recent update on the Ebola outbreak that many of the region's healthcare facilities have had to turn patients away due to a lack of space, and many others lack the supplies and manpower necessary to provide the care patients need.

According to Liberia-based Last Mile Health, healthcare workers have also threatened to strike if medical supplies are not available to care for patients.

"The unprecedented scale of the outbreak has over-stretched local and even international public health institutions, so the mobilization of private resources, including from companies who make essential products or just want to help, can play a defining role in the collective effort to stem the outbreak," Thomas Tighe, the president and CEO of Direct Relief, said. "We are deeply thankful so many are stepping up to help in so many ways."

Companies providing supplies include: 3M, Actavis Pharma, Ansell Healthcare, Basic Medical, Baxter International, BD, Cera Products, Covidien, Henry Schein, Kimberly-Clark, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Merck & Co., Mylan Laboratories, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Omron Healthcare, Pfizer, Prestige Brands, Pro2 Solutions, Sappo Hill and Teva.