IMPACT

Why $140,000 Worth Of Ebola Aid Is Just Sitting Untouched In Sierra Leone

In this photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, healthcare workers load a man suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus o
In this photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, healthcare workers load a man suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus onto an ambulance in Kenema, Sierra Leone, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. Sierra Leone restricted travel Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 in three more "hotspots" of Ebola where more than 1 million people live, meaning about a third of the country's population is now under quarantine. Sierra Leone is one of the hardest hit countries in the Ebola outbreak sweeping West Africa that is believed to have killed more than 2,900 people, according to World Health Organization tolls published Thursday. (AP Photo/ Tanya Bindra)

A shipment worth $140,000 in medical equipment to fight Ebola arrived in Sierra Leone on Aug. 9. But not a single life-saving resource from the supply has been used to combat the virus, even as hundreds of people have died in the weeks since.

The shipment -- containing 100 bags and boxes of hospital linens, 80 cases of face masks, 100 cases of protective suits, and other items -- has gone untouched due to corrupt politics in the region, The New York Times reported.

The donation, which came from both individuals and organizations in the U.S., was orchestrated by Chernoh Alpha Bah, an opposition politician in the country. A government official told The New York Times that the shipment has been delayed under President Ernest Bai Koroma in order to avoid giving Bah positive publicity regarding the outbreak. Authorities have refused to pay the $6,500 fee to the shipper, despite the country receiving $40 million for counter-Ebola efforts.

Three other shipments of similar value are in the U.S. waiting to be sent, but the shipper does not want to move forward without receiving the initial payment.

According to the World Health Organization there have been 7,492 confirmed cases of Ebola in West Africa, and 3,439 deaths, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Corruption in Africa is not rare. According to Transparency International's 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, more than half of respondents in 14 countries around the world admitted to paying off officials, and 11 of them were in Africa. In Liberia, one of the countries hit hardest by the outbreak, 75 percent said they'd slipped money to officials before.

Corruption in affected countries has furthered West Africans' mistrust in their institutions throughout the epidemic. As the Guardian reported last month, many Sierra Leoneans, Guineans and Liberians even believe the viral epidemic is a result of their governments trying to harm them.

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • Empty streets are seen, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Empty streets are seen, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • An empty local market area is seen, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock-down on movement of all people in a
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An empty local market area is seen, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock-down on movement of all people in a attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • An empty local market area is seen, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock-down on movement of all people in a
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An empty local market area is seen, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock-down on movement of all people in a attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • An empty local market area is seen at Waterloo, as the Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An empty local market area is seen at Waterloo, as the Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • A trader sits at an empty local market area in Waterloo, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movemen
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A trader sits at an empty local market area in Waterloo, as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone government enforces a three day lock down on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
  • In this Sept. 19, 2014 photo, an Ebola virus health care worker takes a rest outside a Ebola isolation unit in Freetown, Sier
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Sept. 19, 2014 photo, an Ebola virus health care worker takes a rest outside a Ebola isolation unit in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone confined its 6 million people to their homes Friday for the next three days as the Ebola-ravaged West African country began what was believed to be the most sweeping lockdown against disease since the Middle Ages. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
  • In this Sept. 19, 2014 photo,  Idrissa Kargbo, Sierra Leone's National marathon champion who took part in the New York marath
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Sept. 19, 2014 photo, Idrissa Kargbo, Sierra Leone's National marathon champion who took part in the New York marathon, in recent years, joins Ebola volunteers going from house to house to look for Ebola virus patients in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • A health worker volunteer talks with residents on how to prevent and identify the Ebola virus in others, and distributes bars
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A health worker volunteer talks with residents on how to prevent and identify the Ebola virus in others, and distributes bars of soap in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
  • Health worker volunteers talk to a resident to distribute bars of soap and information about Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone,
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Health worker volunteers talk to a resident to distribute bars of soap and information about Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
  • Health worker volunteers distribute bars of soap and information about Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Health worker volunteers distribute bars of soap and information about Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
  • A health worker volunteer marks a home with chalk to identify that it has been visited, as they distribute bars of soap and i
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A health worker volunteer marks a home with chalk to identify that it has been visited, as they distribute bars of soap and information about Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
  • A health worker volunteer talks with residents on how to prevent and identify the Ebola virus in others, and distributes bars
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A health worker volunteer talks with residents on how to prevent and identify the Ebola virus in others, and distributes bars of soap in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Thousands of health workers began knocking on doors across Sierra Leone on Friday in search of hidden Ebola cases with the entire West African nation locked down in their homes for three days in an unprecedented effort to combat the deadly disease. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
  • In this photo taken on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, Idrissa Kargbo, Sierra Leone's national marathon champion, helps volunteers di
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this photo taken on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, Idrissa Kargbo, Sierra Leone's national marathon champion, helps volunteers distribute information on Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone. As a boy, marathon runner Idrissa Kargbo sprinted through the villages of Sierra Leone on errands for his grandmother and later as a coffee courier. Now at 23 years old, his times have qualified him for races on three continents. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
  • In this photo taken on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, Idrissa Kargbo, top right, Sierra Leone's national marathon champion, helps vo
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this photo taken on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, Idrissa Kargbo, top right, Sierra Leone's national marathon champion, helps volunteers distribute information on Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone. As a boy, marathon runner Idrissa Kargbo sprinted through the villages of Sierra Leone on errands for his grandmother and later as a coffee courier. Now at 23 years old, his times have qualified him for races on three continents. (AP Photo/Michael Duff)
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