Ebola Outbreak Prompts Major Donations

At least two companies announced they are sending supplies to West Africa or making online training programs available free for U.S. health care workers, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen raised his commitment to "at least $100 million."

UL Workplace Health & Safety and Deb Group both announced efforts they're making to provide help during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the small U.S. outbreak thus far. Deb Group has donated more than 18,000 bottles of Deb InstantFOAM hand sanitizer to the World Health Organization to help prevent the spread of the virus in West African countries, and UL Workplace Health & Safety is donating a series of its online training courses to U.S. health care organizations. The courses cover infection controls through handwashing, bloodborne pathogens, PPE, and universal precautions, and the company awill provide them free of charge to any organization that requests them.

Seattle philanthropist Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, announced Oct. 23 that he's raising his commitment to this cause to "at least $100 million." He posted a statement on his website that says in part, "Today, I am issuing a call to action for individuals to join me in this cause. There are several ways you can get involved. If you are a humanitarian aid worker, I am supporting the development of two medevac containment units designed to get you back to your home country safely and quickly if you get infected. I have also established an Ebola Medevac Fund dedicated to providing a way for volunteers to be reimbursed for unfunded medevac transport costs should you need a medevac exit. If you can't volunteer, but would like to support this specific need, you can donate directly to this fund.

"If you are an individual who wants to be a part of the solution, please donate what you can. I have created an easy way for people around the world to contribute to organizations that are addressing critical needs in this crisis – from funding the purchase of hospital beds to sponsoring the creation of public hand washing stations. Simply go to TackleEbola.com and select the need you want to fund. We'll do the rest by sharing reports about our collective progress and providing new opportunities to contribute to making a difference in this battle."

As the 2014-15 U.S. flu season begins and concern over infectious diseases continues to grow, UL Workplace Health & Safety reported it hopes to amplify existing health and safety training already underway at health care facilities nationwide. "Health care workers are on the front lines of infection, working tirelessly to keep us and our families safe," said Bill Grana, president of the company. "They are crucial to ensuring that the public stays out of harm's way, and as such, their health and safety should be one of our top priorities. We are pleased to offer several of our courses to help keep health care workers safe, healthy, and on the job."

For more information or to acquire the courses, visit www.ULWorkplace.com or call 888.202.3016.

Deb Group's announcement said its donation was organized by WHO and supported by members of Private Organizations for Patient Safety, of which Deb Group is a founding member.

"Whilst the Ebola disease has a high mortality rate, the virus itself is easy to inactivate outside the body by soap, alcohol-based disinfectants, bleach, sunlight and high temperatures or drying," according to the announcement, which cites the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control as stating that Ebola virus survives only a short time on surfaces that are in the sun or have dried but can survive for a longer time on clothes or materials that have been stained with blood or other bodily fluids.

According to the company, Deb InstantFOAM hand sanitizer is an FDA-approved, alcohol-based sanitizer and has been independently successfully tested as being effective against this type of virus. "The Ebola outbreak is devastating. Deb, along with other POPS partners, is working with the WHO to share resources with countries currently in need of hand sanitizer products. Given we have a product that meets the FDA guidelines, we have provided a donation to the WHO for distribution to where it is needed in West Africa," Deb Group CEO Bryan Anderson said.

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