ONE & Actor/Activist Idris Elba Urge Swift Global Action on Ebola Following UN Meeting; Warn Funds Must Get to Ground Quickly

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Elba and ONE deliver petition to UN officials with 100,000+ people demanding swifter action on Ebola crisis

NEW YORK CITY—Senior leadership from The ONE Campaign in attendance at today’s United Nations High Level Meeting on Ebola welcomed the new commitments made to combat Ebola, in particular the new World Bank pledge that brings their commitment to $400 million and the $89 million additional pledged by France, but warned that the true test will be in seeing how quickly the funds are delivered and the Ebola crisis is brought under control.

Today’s commitments build on others made last week by the US, EU, UK and others. While the world needs to focus first on ending the outbreak, it is essential that global leaders also act to strengthen developing country health systems so that future disease outbreaks can be stemmed before they become a human catastrophe.

After attending the meeting at the UN, Michael Elliott, President & CEO of ONE said,

We are pleased that world leaders stepped up today with significant commitments consistent with the scale of this tragedy, but the true test will come when we see today’s words turned into funds delivered and working on the ground to quell the outbreak. We and others will be watching to ensure that the commitments announced today are delivered in a responsible, coordinated way that stops this outbreak and begins to rebuild these countries’ weakened health systems.

The Ebola outbreak must be staunched, but it is important that world leaders not rob from Peter to pay Paul. The funding needed for Ebola should not be taken from other critical health programs which are at work preventing exactly the kind of disease outbreak we are fighting now. It is absurd to suggest that the world is unable to tackle more than one health challenge at a time.

At the UN meeting, Elliott and award-winning actor and activist Idris Elba presented Dr. David Nabarro, the United Nations’ recently appointed Special Envoy for Ebola, with a ONE petition signed by more than 100,000 people urging world leaders to step up and make bold commitments on Ebola.

Elba, whose father was born in Sierra Leone, one of the countries most impacted by the current crisis, has spent much of the last two weeks meeting with UN officials and NGO groups doing work on the ground to learn more about what’s needed to bring the outbreak under control. He has spoken out repeatedly about the need for swift action to save lives in the affected regions now, and about the importance of strengthening health systems in the region so that disease outbreaks in the future aren’t allowed to turn catastrophic. Elba said,

As someone from Sierra Leonean heritage I felt compelled to step up and lend my voice to the many others calling on the world to act on the Ebola virus now. Over the past few weeks it felt to me as though the Ebola crisis had dropped down the world’s agenda but following the High Level UN meeting today I feel as though the world is rallying together to help the countries that are affected.  We need to make sure that these words translate to action on the ground so that we can get aid to the people who need it and end the spread of this virus. In the longer term we also need to make sure that the affected countries do not go backwards and that we help them to build back and prevent similar crises having this devastating affect by establishing effective healthcare systems. I would also like to pay tribute to the health workers on the ground who are working day in day out to ensure that this virus is contained and eradicated.

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About ONE
ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.