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3,000 Troops Deployed to West Africa to Fight Ebola

3,000 Troops Deployed to West Africa to Fight Ebola

The United States has committed 3,000 troops to help battle the Ebola epidemic that is sweeping through West Africa. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called on President Obama for aid with the crisis, and the U.S. has responded with vigor. 

The Pentagon originally pledged to build a portable treatment center in Liberia with 25 beds; the U.S. is now going beyond that to assist with the construction of 17 treatment centers in Liberia, totalling 1,700 patient beds. 

The deployed troops will help with the establishment of the facilities, as well as train 500 health care workers per week to treat infected citizens. 

The U.S. government has also promised to send Liberians 400,000 Ebola home health and treatment kits to the four counties most affected by the disease. The kits include protective gear for citizens to wear while treating family members, as well as disinfecting chemicals and fever-reducing medicines. 

Americans doctors have mixed reviews of the government’s plan to fight the deadly virus. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University said, “It seems coordinated and coherent.” Schaffner also praised the Defense Department’s logistical support “because the heart of any kind of epidemic containment concept is getting the goods to the right place, putting up the institution.”

Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, disagreed with Schaffner’s evaluation, saying that the plan was a strong start “but it is clearly not enough.” 

“We should see all of West Africa now as one big outbreak. It’s very clear we have to deal with all the areas with Ebola. If the U.S. is not able or not going to do it, that’s all the more reason to say the rest of the world has to do it,” Osterholm said. 

Publication date: September 16, 2014