10/20/2014 10:08 EDT | Updated 12/20/2014 05:59 EST

Ontario Gives $3M To Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres In Ebola Fight


TORONTO - Ontario is giving $3 million to organizations fighting to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday that the government is providing $2 million to the Red Cross and $1 million to Medecins Sans Frontieres. The money will help the international humanitarian groups on the front lines to treat patients and contain the spread of the virus, she said.

Wynne is encouraging people in Ontario to match the government's donation.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins said, as a former aid worker, one of the biggest challenges on the ground is not having sufficient resources.

"There's an infrastructure in West Africa that unfortunately doesn't come close to comparing to what we have here," he said. "In Canada we have one physician for every 400 citizens. In Liberia they have one physician for every 74,000 citizens."

The World Health Organization says the death toll from Ebola has risen to more than 4,500 people from the 9,000 infected. There are no confirmed cases of the disease in Canada.

Stephen Cornish, the executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres Canada, said the organization has treated the majority of all cases in West Africa and more than 30 Canadians have gone there to help.

"It's not all bleak," he said. "We're nearing the mark where we'll be able to announce our 1,000th patient cured. That shows that Ebola doesn't have to be a death sentence. It shows that we do know how to contain this disease."

Nigeria was declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organization on Monday.

Tanya Elliott, the director general of international operations for the Canadian Red Cross, said it's a "race against time."

"Education on prevention is key to stopping the spread of the Ebola virus," she said. "The Red Cross in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is using a variety of methods to ensure these messages reach even the most vulnerable villages. This includes radio programming, text messages, face-to-face visits with communities and even the use of megaphones in local markets."

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Ebola virus myth-busting See Gallery