Labor is today urging the federal government to extend Australia’s commitment to fighting the Ebola outbreak by supporting skilled and experienced Australians who are willing and able to assist.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the worsening Ebola crisis as “unparalleled in modern times” with the disease now having killed more than 2,800 people and infected nearly 6,000 people in West Africa.
The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution declaring the Ebola outbreak to be “a threat to international peace and security”, only the second time it has taken this step for a health issue.
Organisations on the front line in West Africa like Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) say they are now in desperate need of personnel, rather than donations.
“we are not asking for financial support, we are asking the government to evaluate Australia’s emergency medical capacity and mobilise it on the ground in West Africa.”
Around a dozen Australians are already on the ground in West Africa working with organisations like MSF and the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) says more have volunteered to help out through the Red Cross and MSF, but are seeking government support.
Labor supports the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) call for Australia to support the recruitment and deployment of volunteer doctors and other health professionals to West Africa, and to provide ongoing practical support such as protective and medical equipment and supplies, transport and accommodation.
The AMA has also noted that the Australian Government has well trained Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) that include doctors, nurses, paramedics, fire fighters and allied health staff that can rapidly respond to crises like the Ebola virus.
Australia is a prosperous and generous nation and our Government should do all it can to assist.
Labor supported the Government’s $8 million in financial contributions, but believes the crisis now demands Australia go further and support specialised personnel who wish to contribute to tackle this rapidly escalating crisis.