International aid agency Oxfam will call on Australian business and industry to join NGOs and governments around the world in the fight against Ebola at a national forum today.
With little more than a month left until the UN’s official deadline to contain further outbreaks of the deadly disease, Oxfam is urgently asking private industry to dig deep and weigh into Australia’s response to the crisis by donating money to help the fight.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Helen Szoke said there was still time to win the fight against Ebola, but she said it required all hands on deck and a real sense of urgency to stem the global public health crisis.
“The speed and scale of the spread of this disease is unprecedented and we have just a small window of opportunity to stop it from getting worse, but we need all hands on deck,” Dr Szoke said.
“With the number of cases doubling about every 20 days, the cost of any further delay could be devastating.
“This crisis needs a holistic response where governments, members of the public, business and industry all have a part to play. There have been contributions from each of these sectors but this needs to be scaled up if we’re going to beat this.”
“This crisis is growing at an alarming rate and so too is the amount of support required. We want to ensure people remain informed of the rapidly escalating needs, and how they can help.
“We hope that by hosting this forum and providing vital information on the crisis, organisations in Australia will have a better understanding of how they can help contribute to the response.”
The Australian Government has currently provided $18 million to the Ebola response, but much more is needed.
“Oxfam is appealing for $47 million to triple our own emergency response work, and to support our work with other NGOs to address the gaps in the global response and tackle the spread of this disease from a range of angles,” Dr Szoke said.
“Providing treatment is vital, however preventing the further spread of infection is equally important right now and Oxfam is currently working in Sierra Leone and Liberia to address this through clean water, sanitation and public education.
“People are dying in terrifying numbers of a disease that is spreading rapidly and NGOs simply cannot stop this on our own. Australian business and industry need to join us now in this battle, no one can afford not to act.”
For interviews or more information, please contact Oxfam Media Coordinator Emma Whalan on 0418 873 782 or firstname.lastname@example.org