Bill Gates At The Global Alliance for Vaccines And Immunisation (GAVI) Conference
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates attends a news conference at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) conference in London June 13, 2011. Reuters/Paul Hackett

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said it may be impossible to assess if the world's leaders had done what they could control the Ebola virus raging in West Africa. In a Reuters report, Gates said Ebola could spread beyond West Africa and urged countries to prepare for a possible outbreak as people from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia continue to move across borders.

Gates believes the World Bank has already plans in place should the virus escape the region and reach other countries. He said nations with strong primary health care systems are well-positioned to control the spread of the virus. He mentioned Nigeria and Senegal as countries that have demonstrated how a quick response to an Ebola case can contain it.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have sent extra funds towards Nigeria in July and August. The foundation has pledged another $50 million on Sept. 10 to help fight Ebola that has infected more than 6,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The World Health Organisation has warned the infection rate of Ebola would be three times as fast by November with 20,000 patients. The current death rate is now beyond 50 percent.

The WHO has previously warned that Liberia will see a rapid increase in the number of Ebola-ridden patients, with thousands of people projected to contract the virus in high-risk areas. The international health agency recently revealed the virus has a mortality rate of 70 percent.

Gates said Liberia and Sierra Leone are the worst-hit countries by Ebola because their health care systems lack funding due to brutal civil wars in the past. These countries depend on hospitals and clinics operated by non-profit groups and charities. He thinks their governments are also in need of institutional expertise in health care.

To help contain Ebola, the U.S. has announced on Sept. 16 that it will send 3,000 medical personnel and military engineers to build field hospitals and treatment facilities. The UK, France and Australia are also planning to increase their aid to West Africa in the ongoing outbreak. The United Nations has called on countries around the world to do what they can to help contain the virus.