Pittsburgh Humanitarian Groups Send Ebola Aid To Africa

Aug 7, 2014

An international humanitarian aid organization in Pittsburgh is assembling medical supply kits for healthcare workers treating Ebola patients in Africa.

Global Links has collected an estimated 1,000 gloves, goggles, gowns and masks; nearly all donated as surplus equipment from regional healthcare facilities.

“Through hospitals, through other health organizations, 95 percent of everything we send are recovered materials that would often end up in the landfill if we weren’t taking it,” Global Links CEO Kathleen Hower said.

The materials will be sent to New York before they’re put on a cargo plane and distributed to workers in Africa next week.

The Ebola virus, which has killed 932 so far during the latest outbreak, according to the World Health Organization, is transmitted through direct contact with blood, body fluids and tissues of those infected. The virus can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, impaired kidney and liver function, as well as internal and external bleeding.

Hower said the medical supply kits are designed for those dealing first-hand with Ebola patients.

“The people working on the ground need support for getting the message out to the community,” she said. “There’s a lot of myths surrounding Ebola. Some people don’t even believe it’s really there and that all has to happen on the ground by trusted people who have been working there.”

As the death toll continues to rise, Howler said she’s confident the healthcare workers will be able to manage the Ebola outbreak.

“We’re hoping that this crisis is going to come under control very soon,” she said, “but we may indeed provide more materials in the future.”

The Pittsburgh-based Brother’s Brother Foundation is also sending aid to Africa.

A container filled with delivery tables, I.V. poles and operating tables is on its way to Ghana.  Another shipment for Liberia leaves Saturday and supplies for Sierra Leone within 10 days.