Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | Africa | transport | patients

US Plans Manpower, Equipment Surge to Help Combat Ebola in Africa

By    |   Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:21 AM

The State Department has hired an air-ambulance company to transport more federal workers into West African countries ravaged by Ebola, Bloomberg News reports.

As many as 1,400 government employees are presently on the ground in West Africa, according to a State Department contract document released Sept. 9.

The contract with Phoenix Air Group, a U.S. certificated air carrier based in Cartersville, Georgia, is one part of a comprehensive effort to combat the spread of the deadly virus in West Africa.

Phoenix Air may transport as many as three Ebola patients a month, according to the contract.

In addition, William Walters, director of the Office of Operational Medicine at the State Department, told Bloomberg that other countries might have access to the aircraft if they enter into agreements with the United States to pay for the service.

As of Aug. 31, there had been 1,841 deaths and 3,685 suspected cases reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierre Leone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Nigeria, there have been 21 cases and seven deaths, and in Senegal, one case has been confirmed and there have been no Ebola deaths or further suspected cases.

Earlier this summer, Phoenix Air Group flew Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol, the first two Americans stricken with Ebola, from Liberia to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Phoenix Air employs about 150 people and owns 45 aircraft. Its business with the federal government totaled $46 million in fiscal year 2011, the most recent year that figures were available at fedspending.org.

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama said Americans should not worry about the virus spreading to the United States in the short term. But, he added, it would require a broad, agency-wide response by the U.S. government to get a handle on the current crisis.

"We're going to have to get U.S. military assets just to set up, for example, isolation units and equipment there to provide security for public health workers surging from around the world. If we do that, then it's still going to be months before this problem is controllable in Africa. But it shouldn't reach our shores," Obama on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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This week, the United States committed an additional $10 million to support the African Union’s (AU) deployment of trained and equipped medical workers to West Africa. The United States has spent more $100 million responding to the Ebola outbreak, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

"The U.S. is committed to supporting the African Union's response to the urgent needs across West Africa as a result of this vicious disease. We can and will stop this epidemic, but it will take a coordinated effort by the entire global community," said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.

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The State Department has hired an air-ambulance company to transport more federal workers into West African countries ravaged by Ebola, Bloomberg News reports.
Ebola, Africa, transport, patients
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2014-21-11
Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:21 AM
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