DALLAS (AP) — The family of the only person to die of Ebola in the United States said a Dallas hospital’s donation to combat the disease in Africa fell far short of what they hoped.
Texas Health Resources, the parent company of Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, the hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan was treated, announced Monday that it donated $125,000 toward a scholarship fund to train doctors and nurses in Duncan’s native Liberia, whose weak health care system was further battered by the latest Ebola outbreak.
More than 4,600 people died from Ebola in Liberia, and there were more than 10,000 deaths throughout West Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
The donation fulfills a settlement agreement with Duncan’s family that included an undisclosed payout to his parents and children, according to hospital spokesman Wendell Watson.
Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, told The Associated Press that he had asked the hospital chain for $5 million to build a hospital in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.
“It’s not enough. It’s not nearly enough, but it’s a start,” Weeks said Sunday of the endowment.
He said there was no set amount for the donation agreed to between the parties.
Christian missionary group SIM USA will administer the scholarship and invest it “conservatively,” said George Salloum, SIM’s chief of staff. SIM operates a small, private hospital on the outskirts of Monrovia with about 50 beds, and is building another one that will triple its capacity.
SIM missionary Dr. Rick Sacra, who survived Ebola, has returned to Liberia. Fellow survivor Nancy Writebol said Monday that she will return in June with her husband, David Writebol.
“Dave and I have both sensed that it is God’s call on our lives to go to Liberia, and God has not released us from that call,” she said.
The hospital said it plans no further donations but will keep its fund open for outside contributions.
SIM will begin to disburse the funds in Liberia after reaching a goal of $1 million in donations and proceeds from the initial $125,000 investment, Salloum said.
The missionary group plans to fund the medical training of five to seven Liberians per year, he said.
“The cost of training in West Africa will be a fraction of the cost in America,” he said.
It may be years before the money reaches Liberia, Salloum said.