Whenever a large-scale crisis like the Ebola epidemic occurs, the international development community is generally pretty quick to jump in and help. However, it is often the case that once the immediate emergency has passed and recovery begins, funds begin to dwindle and local communities are often left cleaning up the aftermath.
For African nations hit hard by Ebola, such as Guinea, that meant a health care infrastructure in near ruins (which was already stressed to begin with) and far fewer health care workers left to deal with the influx of patients seeking treatment for other conditions—treatment that they could not receive at the height of the Ebola crisis.
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As the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea join forces to help repair their health care systems and infrastructure, the Alcoa Foundation is mounting its own recovery campaign on a smaller scale, focusing on the country of Guinea.
Alcoa has been operating in Guinea for quite some time and is a 45 percent shareholder of Halco Mining, so it makes sense that the company’s philanthropic arm is contributing to the health and well-being of its local community. In an effort to heal the country’s ailing health care systems, the Alcoa Foundation has partnered with the global health nonprofit and Johns Hopkins University affiliate, Jhpiego.
Jhpiego and Alcoa have launched a new healthcare training project, which hopes to train some 120 healthcare workers within the next four months. The project is building on USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival program, which has been working with the government of Guinea to bolster the infection prevention and control skills of over 3,000 healthcare workers in the country.
The overall goal of the project is to staff a depleted workforce, providing them with the necessary skills and training in infection prevention and control so they can be better prepared when another disease reaches epidemic proportions. Of the program, Esra Ozer, president of the Alcoa Foundation said, “This program will help to ensure that country’s most vulnerable are administered the care they need by well-trained and equipped healthcare providers.”
Disaster response and recovery isn’t necessarily in the Alcoa Foundation’s giving wheelhouse. However, the foundation has been supporting the needs of local communities in Guinea through its primary projects in improving health care, education, environmental sustainability and conservation, gender diversity and capacity building.
And this isn’t Alcoa’s first give toward the Ebola crisis. Last year, it awarded an $80,000 grant to the CDC Foundation for its emergency response efforts in Guinea.