The European Union and its Member States continue to mobilise all available resources to help contain the largest Ebola epidemic on record.
In response to the EU’s call for the mobilisation of qualified, trained and experienced health workers, Greece will send a team of six medical personnel – four doctors, a nurse and a paramedic- to the affected countries of West Africa through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, as well as contributing to the funding of much-needed material. This was announced in a joint statement by EU Ebola Coordinator Christos Stylianides and the Greek Minister of Health, Mavroudis Voridis, on Saturday 6 December, in Athens.
“We welcome and applaud Greece’s decision to deploy medical staff to the most affected countries,only the second Member State to do so. The European Union will provide all necessary support for this initiative,” said Christos Stylianides, EU Ebola Coordinator and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, who recently visited the three most affected countries Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. “I call on all Member States to mobilise additional resources. More health personnel, more trainers for health workers, more epidemiologists are urgently needed on the ground.”
Several Member states have already responded to the Commissioner’s call. France, for instance, recently offered two additional medical teams who work in Guinea and Mali, and Sweden deployed 42 doctors, nurses and other health personnel via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, who currently run a treatment centre in Liberia.
To support the mobilisation of international humanitarian aid workers, the EU member States’ contributions are also strengthening the capacities to evacuate international aid staff who contract Ebola. Following Luxembourg which announced the availability of two planes for this purpose in November, Germany has now made available an airplane fully equipped for the treatment of severe Ebola cases.
To stop the epidemic from spreading further, mobile laboratories for early detection of the virus are deployed in the affected region. The most recent contribution was offered by Belgium on Friday; a mobile laboratory will be deployed to Guinea shortly with support via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
A coherent European response
The European Union has been active in the response to the Ebola emergency from the start. The total EU contribution to the fight against Ebola is over EUR 1.1 billion of which over EUR 374 million has been provided by the European Commission for humanitarian and development aid, early recovery assistance as well as medical research. The EU has also deployed humanitarian experts and specialists in infectious diseases to the region and coordinates the Member States’ contributions in aid supplies, medical equipment, ambulances and field hospitals.
West Africa is currently facing the worst Ebola epidemic on record. More than 17 000 people have been infected and more than 6 000 people have died in the affected countries.
The unprecedented scale of the Ebola epidemic requires a robust and effective coordinated international response. Beyond the human tragedy, the disease is having devastating effects on the security and economy of the whole region, including the collapse of health systems in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as shortcomings in the food security and nutrition, governance, agriculture, security and other key areas.
For more information
The European Union’s response to Ebola emergency:
The European Commission’s humanitarian aid and civil protection: