NEWS

Ebola Outbreak: Canada Sending 40 Military Medical Personnel To Africa

11/27/2014 12:40 EST | Updated 01/27/2015 05:59 EST
Canada is offering 40 military personnel and an additional $20.9 million to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Defence Minister Rob Nicholson are announcing the new measures in Ottawa. CBCnews.ca is carrying the announcement live.

The Department of National Defence will send Canadian Forces health-care and support staff to Sierra Leone for up to six months. The Canadian military doctors, nurses and medics will be stationed with personnel from the United Kingdom at the Kerry Town Treatment Unit, treating health-care workers who have been exposed to the deadly virus. 

"Our uniformed health professionals and support staff will be highly trained and well supported as they join their British military medical counterparts," Nicholson said in a statement.

The $20.9 million will be given to 10 humanitarian organizations:

- For treatment and psychological support.

- To help local communities cope with the outbreak.

- To train medical personnel and emergency experts who will be deployed to the region.

The Red Cross says it has 17 people currently on the ground, and the additional money for urgent training needs will help fill the demand for health-care workers in Ebola treatment centres in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"Since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak in March 2014, recruiting doctors, nurses and support staff has been our greatest challenge," said Conrad Sauvé, secretary general of the Canadian Red Cross.

With the announcement Thursday, Canada has committed $113.5 million to help in the fight against Ebola.

According to the World Health Organization, there were 15,351 reported cases and 5,459 deaths worldwide.

Canada came under fire from the WHO earlier this month for announcing it was suspending new travel visas for residents from "high-risk" countries in the Ebola-affected areas of West Africa. Canada also halted processing permanent residence visas for people from those countries.

Two weeks ago, Canada also announced it was imposing new self-quarantine measures for "high-risk" travellers from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, three of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak.