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American response to the Ebola epidemic

September 19, 2014 | Washington D.C. (USA)

On Tuesday, September 16th, President Obama announced that up to 3,000 U.S. military personnel will be sent to West Africa to battle the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Operation United Assistance will be led by a general from the U.S. Africa Command, and will be headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia. The operation is anticipated to cost up to $750 million over the next six months, in addition to the $175 million the United States has already spent responding to the epidemic.

As part of the American response, the Department of Defense plans to build 17 treatment centers in Liberia with a total of 1,700 urgently needed beds, and will send medical personnel to the region to provide training to 500 healthcare workers per week.

The United States also plans to provide basic Ebola response kits for 400,000 households in an attempt to stem the transmission of the virus to family members of infected people who have not been able to secure a bed in a treatment center.

Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs and the UPMC Center for Health Security will co-host a congressional seminar on September 24th to discuss what is needed to end the Ebola epidemic. Fondation Mérieux USA consultant Dr. Joseph Fair will be a panelist at the seminar, alongside Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance; Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC; and Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for Health Security at the WHO. This congressional seminar will help to inform decision-makers on Capitol Hill regarding the current situation on the ground in West Africa, lessons learned, and what additional measures NGOs, the U.S. government, and the international community can take to respond more effectively to the outbreak.

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