Microsoft founder Bill Gates has donated £31m of his considerable fortune to combating the spread of Ebola in West Africa – a disease which has claimed over 2,300 lives in the region.
The philanthropist on Thursday made the donation through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the United Nations agencies and other international organisations involved in the emergency efforts to cease the transmission of the virus.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) R&D department and the US Fund for Unicef each received over £3m to contain the threat and treat survivors.
Unicef will use the donation to help Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea purchase essential medical supplies, coordinate response activities, and provide at-risk communities with life-saving health information.
Furthermore, the foundation said it will work with public and private sector partners to hasten the development of an Ebola cure.
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation, said: “We are working urgently with our partners to identify the most effective ways to help them save lives now and stop transmission of this deadly disease.
“We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks.”
Gates on Wednesday tweeted that Hellman was to hold a pledge-driving q&a session to further raise awareness of the disease among viewers. It was here that the foundation first announced the donation.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) September 10, 2014
Last month the philanthropist took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge using a unique pulley machine, he designed, to soak himself in style.