US to expand Ebola response in West Africa

Washington, Sep 16 (IANS/EFE) US President Barack Obama plans to announce this week an expanded response to the Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa, the White House said.

"Making an investment here early is critical to trying to snuff out this problem before it becomes a much more widespread problem. And that is the strategy that we are trying to implement here is to try to invest early," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

Obama will make the announcement during a visit Tuesday to the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, the spokesman said.

Among the possible measures of the new plan will be sending more portable hospitals, doctors and medical supplies, as well as training health workers in the affected countries, according to sources close to the White House cited in the Wall Street Journal.

Obama will urge Congress to approve another $88 million to combat the virus.

Up to now, the US has spent more than $100 million in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has left over 2,400 people dead, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation.

The US military has sent eight doctors and health experts to West Africa and plans to send a portable hospital to Liberia, while the CDC has sent more than 100 professionals to the region.

The WHO said last week that between 500 and 600 foreign medical professionals are needed in the affected countries and at least 10 treatment centres.


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