October 30, 2014 / 1:50 PM / 5 years ago

World Bank funding for Ebola fight hits $500 million

People sit near a banner reading "The Ministry of Agriculture, Dixinn Commune, Together to defeat Ebola," in Conakry, Guinea October 26, 2014. REUTERS/Michelle Nichols

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Bank pledged $100 million on Thursday to help recruit more foreign health workers in the fight against Ebola, taking its funding for the three worst-hit countries to more than half a billion dollars over the past three months.

The biggest recorded outbreak of the deadly virus has killed almost 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Some aid groups have criticized the scale of the initial international response.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said the three states were still struggling to get enough health staff to areas with the highest infection rates.

“We must urgently find ways to break any barriers to the deployment of more health workers. It is our hope that this $100 million can help be a catalyst for a rapid surge of health workers to the communities in dire need,” Kim said in a statement.

The latest tranche will go towards setting up a coordination hub to recruit, train and deploy qualified foreign health workers and support the three countries’ efforts to isolate Ebola patients and bury the dead safely, the bank said.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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