Funding Delays Helped Ebola Spread

Funding delays from international donors who promised to help in the fight against the Ebola epidemic may have allowed the disease to spread, according to a study published Wednesday. The World Health Organization was too slow in its appeal for donations to help in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, reports Karen Grepin, assistant professor of global health policy at New York University. Grepin’s study tracked both WHO requests for funding as well as the timeline of when payments of donations pledged were actually made. “Substantial donor support did not reach affected countries until October, more than six months after WHO was alerted to the outbreak,” according to the study. The problem, however, was not the donors but the delay in deploying resources rapidly enough. According to Grepin, “it took until at least mid-October before the affected countries received $500 million and until at least December before they got $1 billion.” The study added that the world is in need of a mechanism for a quicker response when it comes to disbursement of money for epidemics such as Ebola.