The European Commission has announced €140m of funding for the countries currently affected by the Ebola virus in West Africa — Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
According to an EU press release issued Friday, €38 million of the new package is specifically designed to help the governments bolster their health services, for example through reinforcing treatment centers or support health workers, both during the crisis and in the recovery phase.
It will also provide support in the areas of food security, water and sanitation, which are essential in terms of safeguarding the health of the population.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced the support Friday during his official visit to Benin.
He said: "The ongoing Ebola crisis remains extremely concerning; not just because of its obvious impact on health services but also due to the wider challenges it brings to the region in terms of economic stability, food security, water and sanitation.
“Our package shows that the EU continues to be committed to a strong, coordinated international response and will do all it can to help governments in those countries affected in the areas where it is most needed,” he noted.
Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "The situation is going from bad to worse, despite the brave efforts of humanitarian organizations and despite early and substantial assistance provided by the international community, including the EU.
“We are helping make a difference on the ground, but the needs are outpacing the international community's capacity to react. We need to pool our efforts and provide adequate air transportation and medical equipment to our partners in order to fight this menace," she said.
According to the release, the total package of €140 million will be split as follows:
€38m to strengthen healthcare systems, including in the areas of healthcare provision, food security, water and sanitation, while €5 million goes towards providing mobile laboratories for the detection of the virus and training health workers (as part of the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, or IcSP).
The release said €97.5 million will be spent in Budget Support operations to Liberia and Sierra Leone, to reinforce governments’ capacity to deliver public services – in particular health care and macro-economic stability.