THE international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières is urging Australia to send trained emergency medical personnel to fight Ebola in West Africa.
“The situation on the ground is catastrophic. The Ebola outbreak is killing thousands of people. The infection rate doubles every three weeks. With some 6000 people infected to date, and many thousands uncounted, if immediate action is not taken now to stop the spread there could be hundreds of thousands infected by the New Year, of which more than half will die,” Médecins sans Frontières Australia’s Executive Director, Paul McPhun, said.
“These are shocking statistics, yet still countries like Australia with the capacity to make a real difference on the ground are looking at each other to take responsibility, and are refusing to send their own personnel to help. Facing this reality today, it is unthinkable that Australia is waiting for an invitation from the World Health Organisation to act.”
“As a member of the UN Security Council Australia voted ten days ago for a resolution calling on all UN member States to mobilise resources and expertise to West Africa, and yet is not responding with the kind of action the resolution explicitly calls for,” McPhun said.
Australian deployment of even a small number of trained staff would have a very significant impact. Even a dozen trained staff who could oversee local teams to manage an isolation centre, help case finding and outbreak control measures would save thousands of lives today.
Every day, issues such as medical evacuation become clearer, as commitments are made by UN member States in Europe to facilitate the needs of those responding to the Ebola crisis. This emergency is unique, and clearly challenging, but it can be managed with a strong coordinated effort from the international community.
“Médecins Sans Frontières simply does not have the capacity to do this job alone. We are already turning people away from our clinics which have been stretched beyond over capacity for weeks. It has taken months to reach an international consensus on the need to act now, and yet still the acute urgency to mobilise support to West Africa before it is too late seems to have little momentum here,” McPhun added.
Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.