In response to urgent pleas from the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the US government and other countries, Israel is sending more than a million shekels’ worth of medical equipment, as well as expert personnel to fight the spread of the African Ebola epidemic that has claimed 3,400 lives since March and has infected almost 7,200 people.
Earlier this week, Israel’s Defense Ministry told the US and UN that it could not fulfill a request to send IDF field hospitals to Liberia and Sierra Leone, out of concern for the safety of Israeli health workers. MASHAV-Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry-is answering a different but just as pressing need: prevention. Within the next two weeks, MASHAV will ship three mobile emergency Ebola treatment units, equipped to handle the first cases that may be discovered, to the three countries deemed at highest risk of infection. Those countries will be selected in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.
Each 10-bed unit will be accompanied by an Israeli team including technicians to construct them and train local personnel how to run them, and a doctor and a nurse under the auspices of the Health Ministry. They will train their African counterparts to educate at-risk populations on how to prevent the spread of the disease. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told a Security Council in September that just as Israel answered the call for humanitarian aid in Haiti, Ghana and the Philippines, “Israel is ready for the new challenge standing before the world, and has started providing funds and medical equipment.” (via Israel21c)
[Photo: Physicians for Human Rights / Flickr]