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New grant will help Medical Teams International fight Ebola

Tigard charity continues fight against deadly disease

MEDICAL TEAMS INTERNATIONAL - Medical Teams International, a Tigard charity that offers medical care in disaster zones around the globe, has received a grant to help fight Ebola in Liberia.Tigard’s Medical Teams International has received a $833,000 grant to help fight the spread of Ebola in Africa.

On Tuesday, March 15, the organization announced that it had received a year-long grant from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. The grant will support the Tigard charity’s work with the government of Liberia, which was hit hard by an outbreak of the disease over the past two years.

“We are grateful to have this opportunity to build the capacity of the Liberian health system to prevent another massive Ebola outbreak,” said Medical Teams International's Vice President of Programs Joe DiCarlo.

In 2014, the world’s largest Ebola outbreak exploded across Africa. The death toll rose to more than 11,300 according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 4,800 of those deaths occurred in Liberia.

Medical Teams International — an international medical aid organization with its world headquarters on Southwest Milton Court, in Tigard — used teams of volunteers to help educate the public about the deadly disease.

Medical Teams International said that misconcentpions about the disease and the country’s already weakened health system contributed to the virus’ spread, which eventually surpassed the government’s ability to address it.

Medical Teams groups in the country mobilized to isolate and treat suspected Ebola case in order to protect the community and the family caring for the patient.

“The World Health Organization and the Liberian Ministry of Health saw this as the most effective way to prevent the spread of Ebola,” Medical Teams said in a statement on Tuesday. “The success of the program increased Medical Teams’ visibility among (non-governmental organizations) working to contain the virus and elevated the Northwest-based nonprofit as a leader in fighting Ebola.”

While headlines about the outbreak have largely died down in American media, the fight rages overseas. Liberia has declared itself “Ebola free” twice since 2014.

New cases of Ebola were identified in Liberia in late November 2015. On Tuesday, Liberia closed its border with Guinea after a flare up of the disease killed four people in that country.

"The virus is still active in neighboring countries, making permanent eradication difficult,” Medical Teams said.

“Before this new outbreak, Medical Teams and other organizations were transitioning into a recovery phase to strengthen capacity and scale up infection prevention and control protocols. Now, the emphasis is to protect communities from the new outbreak.”