Although the world’s attention is drifting away from the Ebola tragedy in West Africa, the crisis continues. However, the joint efforts of those helping on the front lines continue to pay dividends: this month, clean water began flowing from a new WaterHealth Centre in Bomi County, Liberia.
Ebola continues to inflict a tragic toll in West Africa, and the delivery and storage of clean water remains a critical weapon in the fight against the disease. Behind a partnership including the McWane Foundation, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, WaterHealth International and the Global Environment & Technology Foundation, some 22 million liters of safe, World Health Organization-quality water are being provided to existing Ebola Treatment Units in Liberia. The water is critical – by one measure, as many as 52 gallons of water a day are needed to treat every Ebola patient – for drinking, and to wash clothes and disinfect patient hands and bodies. It is also essential in cleaning the outfits used by the medical doctors and nurses. The absence of reliable water and wastewater infrastructure has helped contribute to a chronic lack of clean water in the area. The effort to fight the disease is part of Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), which aims to provide clean water and sanitation access to two million people by the end of the year.
“Clean, safe, reliable drinking water isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, particularly when treating a disease like Ebola. While Ebola isn’t on the front pages anymore, it’s a crisis that continues to claim hundreds of lives, with more than 124 new cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone recorded in the first week of February alone,” said G. Ruffner Page, Jr., McWane, Inc.’s President. “And I’m grateful we are working together with a team of such committed partners.”
This month’s news is only the latest in the continuing efforts by the partnership to deliver safe water where it is most needed. While many take for granted water infrastructures that deliver to our homes safe, dependable drinking water, the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa served as yet another reminder of why we shouldn’t. Water infrastructure helps prevent the spread of devastating illness and supports broader efforts at disease eradication and prevention.
Last year, McWane contributed $100,000 and its considerable expertise to help deliver water to frontline health clinics in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, a focal point of the outbreak that ignited global panic in 2014.