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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Canada steps to the plate and sending personnel to fight Ebola

Let us give credit where credit is due. 

DrPHealth Octo 29 Ebolaphobia chastised the Canadian government for not only its token response to the very real issues around Ebola but what also turned  out to be limiting the NGO sector response for Canadians. Curing this time several other countries including Cuba and China stepped up and sent significant human and support resources to this international effort.   For those wishing to protect our borders, containment of Ebola in its current location is the most logical, rationale, and less expensive option.

The cost of all the planning that has occurred in the past month must run into the millions, but without a solid accounting of the meetings, the training, the teleconferences, the documents, the videos and numerous other resources aimed at protecting Canadians on Canadian soil, the real cost will never be measured.  Instead, the number of West African deaths has increased by some 2500 and tentative success is being suggested in Guinea and Liberia (but not Sierra Leone).

This week, the normally silent Minister Ambrose stepped to the plate with an announcement that Canada will send up to 40 military medical personnel to combat the spread of the disease.  Globe and Mail coverage.  Not only are they being deployed, but are headed to the hottest of the countries in Sierra Leone.

Before shining our Canadian egos, a few points need to be made.
·         These military medical personnel are being specifically deployed to a British hospital which is treating only health care workers who have contracted the disease. 
·         In making the announcement, Ambrose blamed the failure of the Canadian medical system to be prepared to manage individuals with Ebola rather than the goverment's lack of leadership
·         There has been no lifting of the visa restrictions for persons from areas with intense persistent transmission of Ebola
·         The past month has seen a trickle of Canadian volunteers join the fight with a clear discouragement from allowing Canadians to contribute their skills (save for a pair of laboratory teams from the Level 4 NML facility)

The chastisement done, let us now regroup and look at how much further we in Canada can muster our humanity, compassion and expertise in the defense globally against this threat.  

The Canadian Red Cross is seeking up to 1200 health care workers to work over the next 6 months in response to the need, and much of this is supported by Canadian government funding.  The Canadian government has commited over $100 Million in aid support for fighting Ebola, much of which will help defray costs of Canadian health care workers who join this important effort.  

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