Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters International donations to the Ebola virus outbreak

Author’s reply to Reynolds

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 18 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1284
  1. Karen A Grépin, assistant professor of global health policy1
  1. 1New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA
  1. kag12{at}

I thank the World Bank for its comment and continued support to those affected by the ongoing Ebola virus crisis in west Africa.1 I would like to clarify the discrepancy between the bank’s figures of total Ebola aid and the estimates cited in my study.2

As stated, my study tracked only humanitarian funding, which according to the Financial Tracking Services (FTS) of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is funding that supports “intervention[s] to help people who are victims of a natural disaster or conflict meet their basic needs and rights.” According to the World Bank’s website, its aid has been given to “help stop the spread of infections, improve public health systems throughout west Africa, and assist countries in coping with the economic impact.” While much of this would be considered humanitarian assistance, most of it would not. This is not to say that these resources are not essential to curbing the spread of the outbreak and alleviating suffering in affected countries—they are.

This is the first time that a public health emergency has been raised to the level of a humanitarian emergency. The current system may not be ideal for tracking resources to this type of response. However, given that it is difficult to know where to draw the line and that the FTS tracks resources to all forms of humanitarian responses and crises, I decided to use the FTS data for this analysis.


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1284


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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