The Patterson Foundation Contributes Additional $500,000 to NetHope Ebola-Response Effort

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NetHope continues to deliver communications technology critical to humanitarian groups in West Africa

The Patterson Foundation has provided an additional gift of $500,000 to NetHope’s response effort in West Africa as the Ebola virus continues to afflict thousands throughout the region. This gift follows $40,000 contributed in September to the international consortium of 41 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

NetHope, a partner of The Patterson Foundation since 2011, will use the funds to enhance the communications infrastructure accessed by humanitarian groups working to control the outbreak – an effort expected to last up to nine months. In addition to the delivery of computers, smart devices, satellite equipment and other useful technology to aid workers in the field, NetHope aims to create long-term connectivity improvements in the region.

“Connectivity is essential to the success of any disaster response, particularly one spanning multiple countries,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “NetHope works effectively with its partners, governments and other agencies to optimize humanitarian operations while building a robust communications infrastructure that will strengthen these communities for years to come.”

The Patterson Foundation’s early support of NetHope’s Ebola-response efforts has encouraged other public and private partners to contribute as well, resulting in $220,000 from other funders.

“The Patterson Foundation's initial $40,000 contribution played a pivotal role in our rapid response, providing the traction and initial support needed to validate our work and expand our outreach,” said Tina Lee, director of strategic partnerships for NetHope.

The connectivity improvements generated by NetHope’s response allow for greater ease in sharing critical information and health data among NetHope’s 21 member organizations operating in the region, as well as the United Nations and government agencies from around the world. Additionally, the improved infrastructure will enhance the dissemination of public health messages, which will help decrease the spread of the virus and lessen the stigma associated with it.

It is estimated that five new people contract the virus every minute within the hardest-hit nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, a number that is expected to double by the end of the year. The Ebola outbreak has resulted in more than 13,700 cases and claimed the lives of more than 4,900 people, according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization. However, experts believe the actual totals may be much higher as a result of underreporting from inadequate communications infrastructure.

“The system is frankly breaking,” said Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope. “Our member organizations are telling us they may try and make a single phone call for hours. Text messages are being delivered two or three days later. Mobile payments for health workers are sometimes taking a week to process.”

About The Patterson Foundation
The Patterson Foundation works with partners to accelerate positive change by sharing fresh perspectives on strategy, contributing new ideas and providing resources. We believe we’re stronger together – that the act of creative collaboration produces results and knowledge that can be applied more broadly to transcend any single act of philanthropy. For more information, please visit http://www.thepattersonfoundation.org.

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