After providing medical supplies and psychological support, Israel will send three mobile emergency Ebola treatment units to high-risk countries.
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.
Gil Haskel, deputy director general of MASHAV-Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry, tells ISRAEL21c that many international groups – includingIsraAID, the Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid — are already working in the affected countries of West Africa to treat patients stricken by hemorrhagic fever caused by the virus.
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 is answering a different but just as pressing need: prevention.
“Our idea was to exercise Israel’s experience in emergency preparedness in countries that border on those already struck with the epidemic, so as to prevent Ebola from spreading further into Africa,” Haskel explains.
“We have experience in mobile clinics and mobile emergency centers, and that’s where we want to lend our assistance. We decided we’ll be more effective in preventing further spread.”
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, he says.
“We are constructing the units in accordance with WHO standards and preparing them to be sent out by sea,” Haskel says. “We hope they’ll be received sometime in November.”
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.
Continue reading at Israel21c.