The Clinton Global Initiative has donated 100 tons of emergency medical aid to Liberia and Sierra Leone valued at US$5.9 million.
The total cargo of 370 pallets will be distributed among the Ministries of Health, National Drug Service and partner organizations in both countries as well as to the US Centers for Disease Control offices in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
According to a dispatch from the Liberian Mission in New York, the items include 2.8 million surgical and exam gloves, 170,000 coverall gowns, 120,000 masks, 40,000 liters of pre-mixed oral rehydration solution and 9.8 million defined daily doses of essential medications (generic).
The quantities of personal protective equipment (gloves, gowns, masks) included on the flight are sufficient to supply 280 health workers for one year, based on the current requirements and utilization estimates developed in Liberia.
A ceremony to mark the shipment of the emergency medical items was held on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport and was attended by high-level dignitaries from both Liberia and Sierra Leone including Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Liberia’s Ambassador accredited to the United States Jeremiah Sulunteh.
Making brief remarks during the ceremony, Foreign Minister Ngafuan thanked the Clinton Global Initiative and Direct Relief on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the people of Liberia.
He noted that the airlift of critically needed items to Liberia and Sierra Leone (the biggest airlift undertaken by Direct Relief since its founding years ago) will certainly translate into the saving of precious lives.
He said the lack of adequate protective equipment has been one of the causes of the death of many health care workers in Liberia; and as such, the huge donation will help in no small way to restore confidence in health care workers and the entire health system.
Describing the Ebola Virus Disease as a threat to humankind, Minister Ngafuan called on the global community, especially the private sector of the world, to step up and join governments, and international NGOs in taking “bigger, bolder and speedy action” to contain the disease.
The coordination of the shipment (flight) is under the auspices of Direct Relief, a non-profit humanitarian aid organization that provides medical assistance to people around the world who have been affected by poverty, natural disasters, and civil unrest.
The dispatch disclosed that all of the products included in the cargo, which arrived in Liberia on Sunday, September 21, 2014, have the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formulation and was approved for importation by the respective countries.
Direct Relief has made previous deliveries of 600,000 gloves (300,000 pairs) on four prior air shipments sent by commercial air cargo in July and August (two shipments each to Liberia and Sierra Leone.)
In addition, 800,000 gloves (400,000 pairs) were shipped by ocean freight two weeks ago and are en route.
The gloves are in a 40-foot container, two containers each for Liberia and Sierra Leone and are scheduled to arrive on October 16 in Monrovia and Freetown, respectively.