HCA, which operates 164 hospitals and 114 surgery centers in 20 states and England, and the CDC Foundation this week announced a $1 million cash donation by HCA to the CDC Foundation to help support international Ebola epidemic response efforts involving the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their work with partners on the ground in West Africa.
“The U.S. and other nations around the world are surging our response to combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in an effort to save thousands of lives from this terrible disease,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “It’s still possible to reverse this epidemic and this contribution from HCA, and hopefully others like it, will help scale and speed up our response.”
HCA is one of the leading providers of healthcare services in the U.S. and has a long history of supporting relief efforts including those following the earthquake in Haiti, the Indonesian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The $1 million cash donation by HCA was made to the CDC Foundation’s Global Disaster Response Fund.
“Ebola continues to spread rapidly in West Africa, and CDC and others have made it clear that the window of opportunity to contain the virus is closing quickly,” said R. Milton Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of HCA. “The time to act is now, and we strongly encourage other companies, particularly those in the healthcare industry, to join us in this important effort to save lives.”
Since the CDC ramped up its Ebola response in early July, more than 700 CDC staff members have provided logistics, staffing, communication, analytics, management and other support functions. The CDC currently has more than 100 staff deployed in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The CDC Foundation is working with donors like HCA to provide much-needed supplies and equipment for use on the ground in West Africa. These items include personal protective equipment, infection control tools, ready-to-eat meals, generators, vehicles and motorcycles, hiring of locally employed staff, exit screening tools and supplies at airports such as thermal scanners to detect fever.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is a humanitarian crisis. The number of individuals infected with the Ebola virus doubles approximately every three weeks with more than 5,800 cases, based on the latest estimates. Tragically, the number of deaths has increased from 1,500 to more than 2,800 in the same time period. These numbers are only expected to climb without immediate action.
“Without additional public health interventions made possible by donations like that from HCA, CDC estimated that the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach hundreds of thousands or even to over one million people,” said Charles Stokes, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “It’s critical that organizations support this vital effort to provide flexible funding that can be used to meet needs on the ground in West Africa. Together, we can all make a difference.”