Mon | Jan 21, 2019

US works to step up Ebola aid, but is it enough?

Published:Tuesday | September 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Nurses from the Uganda Ministry of Health, seen through a glass window, check passengers arriving from the Democratic Republic of Congo at Entebbe Airport in Uganda for Ebola. The United States has indicated that it will be stepping up its own response to the deadly virus.

WASHINGTON (AP): The American strategy on Ebola is two-pronged: Step up desperately needed aid to West Africa and, in an unusual step, train US doctors and nurses for volunteer duty in the outbreak zone. At home, the goal is to speed up medical research and put hospitals on alert should an infected traveller arrive.

With growing criticism that the world still is not acting fast enough against the surging Ebola epidemic, President Barack Obama has called the outbreak a national security priority.

Obama is to travel to Atlanta today to address the Ebola crisis during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House said. During his visit, Obama is to be briefed about the outbreak and discuss the US response with officials.

The administration hasn't said how big a role the military ultimately will play, and it is not clear how quickly additional promised help will arrive in West Africa.

"This is also not everything we can and should be doing," Senator Chris Coons, who chairs a Foreign Relations subcommittee that oversees African issues, told the Senate last week.

He called for expanded military efforts and for Obama to appoint someone to coordinate the entire government's Ebola response.

Supplies aren't the greatest need: "Trained health professionals for these Ebola treatment units is a critical shortage," said Dr Steve Monroe of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.