GOAL CEO urges Irish ‘Band Aid’ artists to visit West Africa
Aid agency will be managing Ebola treatment centre by Christmas
GOAL is calling on the Irish artists from the Band Aid single to visit West Africa before Christmas, and capitalise on the public support they have helped generate.
In less than five minutes after it was launched on Monday morning, sales of the Band Aid 30 single, Do They Know It’s Christmas, raised more than £1 million for the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
GOAL’s chief executive Barry Andrews said that proceeds from the track will make a significant difference to those working to prevent further spread of the deadly virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, he added that a visit by one of the high-profile singers to the region in the coming weeks could help finally turn the tide and contain the disease.
A similar visit to Ethiopia by Bob Geldof in 1985 helped sustain public support for people suffering there from the effects of famine. The visit led to the ‘Live Aid’ concerts, which raised more than £150 million for the Ethiopian crisis.
“Geldof is a true humanitarian, Ireland should be very proud of him and the other Irish stars involved in Band Aid 30,” said Mr Andrews. “Just as during the famine in Ethiopia 30 years ago, and on many other occasions of tragedy in Africa, he was not content to sit back and bemoan the situation regarding Ebola. Like the true humanitarian that he is, he decided to do something about it.
“Thirty years ago, Bob Geldof visited Ethiopia in the weeks after the original version of Do They Know It’s Christmas was released. This ensured that the media and the public remained focussed on the crisis. Ultimately, his visit helped to raise millions more.
“Perhaps now it is time for one of the younger generation of stars to step forward and repeat what Geldof did three decades ago, and help put an end to the Ebola outbreak. They are certainly very welcome to visit the GOAL programmes in Sierra Leone.”
GOAL is currently collaborating with the UK Government on a new €13 million, 100-bed Ebola treatment centre in the town of Port Loko, 40km to the north-east of the capital, Freetown. The facility will be managed by GOAL and should be ready to receive its first patients by mid-December.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), just 346 beds currently exist for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. This is just 29 per cent of the 1,200 beds required to isolate the disease.
“It is clear from these figures that additional beds and capacity are urgently required to address the outbreak. Thankfully, GOAL will very soon be in a position to offer this support,” added Mr Andrews.
For further comment, please contact GOAL CEO, Barry Andrews on 00 353 (0)86 836 1396
Notes to editor:
There are now almost 5,586 Ebola-infected patients in Sierra Leone, with more than 1,187 recorded deaths. Figures published by World Health Organisation (WHO) show more than 14,300 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola and over 5,100 deaths have been reported so far across Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.
GOAL’s Ebola response:
Close to 200 GOAL staff are delivering aid and development programmes in Freetown and Kenema in Sierra Leone, where an outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease has claimed almost 1,200 lives nationwide, with more than 5,500 recorded cases of the virus.
GOAL is collaborating with the UK Government on a 100-bed Ebola treatment centre in Port Loko. GOAL will staff and manage the facility, which should be ready to accept its first patients by mid-December.
A member of the National Ebola Response Committee in Sierra Leone, GOAL is also delivering health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; and children’s programmes to approximately 81,000 beneficiaries at multiple locations in and around Kenema, a city with a population of close to 200,000 people.
Their response is focused on social mobilisation and health messaging and supporting child protection systems, while also providing critical logistic and material support to health facilities, surveillance teams and partner organisations.