The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF), an entity of The Coca-Cola Company, has responded to the Ebola crisis in West Africa by donating medical equipment and supplies to healthcare centres affected by the outbreak, it was announced on 20th September. Through its healthcare partner, MedShare, doctors and nurses working tirelessly on the ground to care for infected patients and prevent the spread of the disease – at huge risk to themselves – will have access to personal protective equipment.
The intervention is making a significant difference to the lives of healthcare professionals in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and surrounding countries. The shipments, valued at USD200 000, include personal protective equipment (PPE) such as latex gloves, surgical drapes, gowns, face shields, syringes, face masks and shoe covers – essential items to reduce the risk infection for healthcare workers and to improve the level of service delivered to patients. To assist with patient comfort in each country, biomedical equipment such as beds has been sent to affected countries in ocean containers.
Tragically, the shortage of PPE has led to many medical workers treating Ebola patients becoming infected themselves and passing away. Others are just quitting their posts out of fear of becoming infected, which leaves patients with nowhere to go for care.
Dr Susan Mboya-Kidero, President of TCCAF, says the Ebola outbreak is a priority area for the Foundation. “We have long been involved in assisting with humanitarian crises across the continent and the latest Ebola crisis is yet another example of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s ongoing commitment to the challenges that African communities face,” Mboya-Kidero says.
The World Health Organisation reports that while the Ebola strain affecting communities in West Africa is not the deadliest on record, this is the most widespread outbreak witnessed to date.
“The number of fatalities in this outbreak exceeds the number of fatalities of all previous Ebola outbreaks combined and hospitals have a critical shortage of medical supplies needed to contain the disease,” she says.
At the start of the outbreak, 90% of all victims died but since then the rate of deaths has been reduced to about 50%. “This change is due in large part to the doctors and nurses who fight to save lives, at great risk to themselves. However, another key factor is securing the materials needed to enable health care professionals to treat patients effectively. TCCAF joins them in these efforts,” she says.
TCCAF exists for the benefit of communities across Africa. Through its work across the continent The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation is helping to address some of the unmet needs that are a priority for communities. TCCAF has committed resources and is collaborating with other organisations in the public, private and NGO sector to provide communities with improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation through the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN).
The Foundation is also strengthening Africa’s health systems through Project Last Mile, an initiative that leverages Coca-Cola’s logistics, supply chain, and commercial expertise to help improve health systems across Africa.
TCCAF is also working with partners to create opportunities for youth empowerment.
Photo credit: Susan Mboya-Kidero, www.businessdailyafrica.com