Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife donate US$25 million to fight Ebola

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he and his wife Priscilla Chan are donating US$25 million (S$31.9 million) to the US-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation to help fight the spread of the Ebola virus disease. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he and his wife Priscilla Chan are donating US$25 million (S$31.9 million) to the US-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation to help fight the spread of the Ebola virus disease. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

FACEBOOK founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he and his wife Priscilla Chan are donating US$25 million (S$31.9 million) to the US-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation to help fight the spread of the Ebola virus disease.

Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post on Tuesday that he has been concerned about the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives from seven countries since early this year.

"The Ebola epidemic is at a critical turning point. It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed," he wrote, adding that he did not wish for Ebola to become a long-term global health crisis.

Explaining the couple's reason for the donation, Zuckerberg wrote: "We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome...We are hopeful this will help save lives and get this outbreak under control."

The Foundation said on Tuesday that the donation will be used by the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Ebola response effort in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and other places in the world where Ebola is a threat.

President and chief executive of the CDC Foundation Charles Stokes said the Foundation was "extremely grateful for this magnificent donation".

"It's important to note that the gift by Mark Zuckerberg and Dr Priscilla Chan will provide flexible funding allowing CDC to address the most pressing needs as the epidemic shifts and evolves," he said. "We thank them for their compassionate support that will save so many lives."

brynasim@sph.com.sg