President Barack Obama will announce today his plans to send 3,000 troops to Liberia to help fight the Ebola virus, US officials say.
It is understood the US military will oversee building new treatment centers and help train medical staff.
There has been criticism of the slow international response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are the worst-hit countries.
The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,400 people.
More than half of those killed by the virus have been in Liberia. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned recently that the country could see thousands of more cases.
UN officials will discuss the international response to the outbreak at a meeting in Geneva.
US officials said the aim of the country’s anti-Ebola initiative is to:
- Train up to 500 healthcare workers a week
- Construct 17 healthcare facilities, each with about 100 beds
- Establish a joint command based in Monrovia, Liberia, to co-ordinate between US and international relief efforts
- Distribute home healthcare kits to thousands of households
- Conduct a home and community-based campaign to train local people in how to handle patients
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appealed directly to Barack Obama for help in tackling the outbreak.
Several disease experts have welcomed the US plan, though some also question its focus on Liberia.
“We should see all of West Africa now as one big outbreak,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, quoted in The New York Times.
“It’s very clear we have to deal with all the areas with Ebola.”
Ebola spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments.
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