COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cardinal Health Inc. recently donated more than 1 million products to AmeriCares Emergency Response Program to help contain the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The health company donated over 500,000 protective masks, nearly 100,000 gowns, 76,000 biohazard bags and 21,000 protective shoe covers for frontline health workers fighting the epidemic.
“Health workers in West Africa risk their lives every day just by going to work,” said AmeriCares president and chief executive officer Michael Nyenhuis. “Thanks to Cardinal Health, we can help protect doctors and nurses on the front lines of the epidemic from infection.”
The World Health Organization reports that more than 4,000 people have died from the outbreak, including more than 200 health workers. As many as 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone could become infected by January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned.
“As a company with concerns for the health and well-being of people around the world, we’re proud to be able to support international relief efforts in this way,” said Mike Duffy, president of medical products at Cardinal Health. “We’re glad to have a long-standing affiliation with organizations like AmeriCares that are able to quickly deploy products to the places they’re needed most.”
Cardinal Health has supported AmeriCares emergency response work and global health programs for 18 years, and its donations to charitable organizations such as AmeriCares average more than $9 million annually. AmeriCares has delivered Cardinal products to survivors of the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, among other emergencies.
Although Ebola is believed to have infected just a handful of Americans, concerns are mounting. More than half of U.S. adults worry that there will be a large-scale Ebola outbreak across the next year, according to a Harvard University poll conducted earlier this month. Most of them are nervous that they’ll get sick with Ebola, or someone in their family will. Those numbers have climbed from an earlier Harvard poll, which found that about 40% of American adults this summer were worried about an Ebola outbreak.
Ebola is one of the world’s most dangerous diseases. Still, scientists and public health officials have repeatedly urged Americans not to panic.
In Washington, Rep. John Boehner (R., Ohio) urged the Obama administration to consider imposing a ban on travel to the United States from those western African countries where Ebola has been found to be spreading rapidly.