The Sime Darby Foundation (SDF), the philanthropic arm of Sime Darby, is donating 5.7 million rubber gloves worth US$155, 000 to help Liberia fight the Ebola virus disease (EVD).
The gloves shipment, which came in three containers, arrived at the Port of Monrovia on 31 October. The assistance is part of a collaborative effort by the Malaysian government with Malaysian companies to assist five African countries, namely Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Congo combat the spread of Ebola.
Sime Darby, which operates in Liberia, will hand over the shipment to the Government of Liberia. Subsequently, the gloves will be distributed to health workers, non-government organisations (NGOs) and communities.
The Government of Liberia has requested for help from countries all over the world to fight the deadly disease which has hit Liberia the hardest. The Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 4,500 lives across West Africa, including 2,200 in Liberia. In the worst-affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – about 9,000 people have been found to have the Ebola virus, which has a fatality rate of about 70% of those infected.
Besides the gloves, the SDF has also contributed US$157, 220 to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to carry out Ebola awareness programmes and campaigns in Liberia. IFRC is working with the Liberian Red Cross Society (LRCS), which is leading efforts to control the spread of the virus through programmes to reduce mortality and morbidity related to Ebola.
Key activities include training and mobilisation of volunteers to affected communities and providing psychosocial support to help those affected continues with their lives. Other activities include setting up diagnosis facilities, expanding on-going awareness programmes to Sime Darby estates and developing an identification system to manage any outbreak of EVD.
Sime Darby Plantation Liberia currently has a workforce of almost 3,000. In 2009, Sime Darby Plantation signed a 63-year concession agreement with the government of Liberia to develop oil palm and rubber plantations in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Bong counties.