The spread of Ebola in West Africa has been fast, but the panic about the spread of the disease in the United States after a pair of infections has been faster. Ebola news is everywhere you look but for once one of today’s dominant headlines is about a small but positive step in the effort to fight it.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that he and his wife are donating $25 million to help fight the Ebola epidemic.
Some cynics who seem to think that its Zuckerberg and not Jesse Eisenberg who is playing Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may say that this is just throwing money at a complex problem, or that it is a PR move for Zuckerberg. The thing is, the beating heart of this epidemic is in West Africa where resources are beyond thin and this is a disease that feasts on the vulnerabilities that can be exposed when resources are limited. As for any good PR that Zuckerberg will gain from this as a side effect of his good deed, who cares? The point is that the money gets to where it needs to go and that it can help people. Here’s Zuckerberg on his decision to make this donation to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation.
“We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome,” he wrote. “Grants like this directly help the frontline responders in their heroic work. These people are on the ground setting up care centers, training local staff, identifying Ebola cases and much more. We are hopeful this will help save lives and get this outbreak under control.”
The money will be used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ebola response effort in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and elsewhere in the world where Ebola is a threat, the foundation said Tuesday.
Beyond the direct impact of Zuckerberg’s money, this donation may also help inspire other deep pocketed donors to follow in Zuckerberg’s footsteps, and that would be a good thing since the United Nations estimated that it would take about $1 billion to combat the spread of this disease. Unfortunately, those remarks were made a month ago, so who knows if that number has climbed.