ufofana's picture
MSF rejects Ebola money

Medecins Sans Frontieres has rejected US$ 2.5 million pledge made by the Australian government to help fight Ebola, saying more personnel and equipment are what were urgently needed instead.

MSF Australia says the money offered yesterday would be better spent providing the same sort of logistical help as provided by military assistance in major disasters.

"Let's be very clear. It's not MSF's role nor should it be to substitute the responsibility of the Australian government or any other state in addressing this (epidemic)," MSF Australia executive director Paul McPhun told AAP.

"This money would be better spent providing capacity that Medecins Sans Frontieres and other NGOs cannot.

"Our teams have been overwhelmed for some time now, and are forced to turn away patients that are highly infectious. What is needed is a massive increase in personnel, equipment and logistical support."

The government has promised $2.5 million each for MSF and the World Health Organisation, and $2 million to the UK to help its efforts to combat the disease in Sierra Leone.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government was monitoring the outbreak in west Africa and more money could be committed if it worsened.

MSF has described the response so far as "lethally inadequate."

"The emergency we're facing is not just an emergency of containing an Ebola epidemic," Mr McPhun said.

"This is also a massive public health emergency where health infrastructure has collapsed and thousands of people are dying now of non-communicable diseases over and above the Ebola emergency.

The UN says nearly $US1 billion will be needed to stop the worst-ever outbreak of the disease, which has killed more than 2400 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

(C) Politico 18/09/14