President announces new Ebola initiatives during CDC visit

Sept. 17, 2014

During a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta yesterday, President Barack Obama announced new strategies that the United States will employ as part of the international effort to stem the epidemic of Ebola hemorrhagic fever that has ravaged West Africa since spring and taken nearly 2,500 lives so far. The president indicated that the U.S military will play a significant role in the battle against Ebola.

As many as 3,000 troops will be sent to the region during the next six months. A command-and-control center will be set up in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. Seventeen treatment centers will be established in Liberia, each with a capacity of 100 beds. (A lack of sufficient medical facilities in affected parts of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea has been a major obstacle faced by healthcare management personnel trying to respond to the unprecedented outbreak.)

Advisors from the U.S. will also train Liberian healthcare providers—as many as 500 a week—in safe and effective handling and treatment of patients and their families. Sixty-five American public health experts will staff and manage a military hospital to care for health workers who are infected. Ebola prevention kits, which include disinfectant, will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of Liberians who are at risk.

In addition to the $100 million the United States has already spent on fighting the epidemic, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is planning to spend another $75 million to pay for more Ebola treatment units and protective gear. The administration is also asking Congress to allocate another $88 million, as part of a broader spending bill likely to be passed by week’s end. Learn more from the White House blog.

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