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【350名澳洲志愿者报名抗击埃博拉】Hundreds of Australians volunteer to fight Ebola  

2014-11-06 15:54:01|  分类: 鸟语花香(澳音) |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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ELEANOR HALL: It is not even 24 hours since the Prime Minister announced that his Government would do more to assist in the Ebola crisis and fund a privately run centre in Sierra Leone.


But already about 350 Australians have signed up to help.

While some of these Australians will soon be heading towards Africa, the World Health Organization is asking the Australian Government to justify its decision last week to suspend migration from Ebola-hit West African countries, as James Glenday reports from Canberra.

JAMES GLENDAY: The Ebola centre will be British built and purpose designed to cater for 100 patients.

It'll cost Australian taxpayers $20 million to operate, although the job of running it has been outsourced to private company, Aspen Medical.

Chief executive Glenn Keys says he's been inundated with volunteers offering to help fight the deadly virus.

GLENN KEYS: We've now had, as of this morning, almost 350 people register on our website which is just a fantastic effort and a real commitment on behalf of Australians I think to help in this crisis.

JAMES GLENDAY: Quite a few of those might miss out.

The centre will need between 200 and 240 staff including doctors, nurses, logistics experts and environmental health specialists.

Mr Keys says only 10 to 20 per cent will be Australians though staff will rotate through regularly.

GLEN KEYS: And you do that for a number of reasons but critically you do because you don't want people to become fatigued and you don't want people to make mistakes.

So there could actually be quite large numbers of Australians rotate through over the period of the deployment, which is still to be defined, but it'll be in the region of six to eight months.

JAMES GLENDAY: The other staff will come from west and north-west Africa.

About 100 local workers have already registered to help.

The Opposition's health spokeswoman Catherine King is sceptical enough will be found.

She says more trained international specialists are needed.

CATHERINE KING: We know that's exactly the problem that these countries do not have the 

health workers so I think the Australian Government is kidding itself.

JAMES GLENDAY: But the Health Minister Peter Dutton says training locals will leave Africa much better equipped to deal with future Ebola outbreaks.

PETER DUTTON: I think people locally will tell you that they're very happy for the work, they're very happy to be involved in the response.

JAMES GLENDAY: Aspen Medical is still working out when the first teams will arrive.

It's negotiating visas with the Sierra Leone government and looking at flights - a task made more difficult because several countries have closed their borders.

The first planners are likely to arrive this weekend, though Glenn Keys is warning the deployment will take some time.

GLENN KEYS: You've got to understand the logistics behind this is huge. We've got personal protective equipment we've got to get in, consumables, we've got to work out what to do with waste, where we accommodate people, how we feed them and we need to make sure that the logistics are right to support every person who goes in there regardless of whether they're an Australian or an African. 

JAMES GLENDAY: The World Health Organization has welcomed Australia's commitment to Sierra Leone.

It says it would be delighted if Australia helped fill big gaps in healthcare in Liberia and Guinea too and has asked the Abbott Government to justify its recent decision to suspend migration from Ebola-hit West African countries.

The Health Minister Peter Dutton has defended the move.

PETER DUTTON: I think that's sensible and I think particularly given language difficulties, particularly given funeral rituals and practices mean that people coming from West Africa in the three affected countries do pose a higher threat and a higher risk of contracting the disease and ultimately spreading it.

The Government has been criticised for not acting more quickly to fight the Ebola outbreak.

It said it didn't have the proper agreement for medical evacuations for health workers that contracted the virus.

The European Union statement says medical evacuations for all international aid workers have been available for more than two weeks.

But Glenn Keys from Aspen Medical believes the Government was right to wait for an agreement with the United Kingdom.

GLENN KEYS: I think it would have been very difficult to have acted sooner and go to set up a clinic if you didn't know how you were going to treat patients on the ground and how you were going to evacuate them out.

I would have been concerned for my staff and any volunteers we had if we hadn't had a methodology to treat them and I don't think that's an unrealistic requirement.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Glenn Keys from Aspen Medical, ending James Glenday's report.


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http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2014/s4122721.htm

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