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European doctors urge governments to "mobilise" in fight against Ebola

Irish medical personnel are among those who have signed the letter calling on western governments to join the fight.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

IRISH MEDICAL PERSONNEL have called on the government to “mobilise all possible resources” in the fight against Ebola in west Africa.

In an open letter to EU governments published today in The Lancet, 44 prominent health experts say that Europe must take steps, including allowing health professionals to volunteer for temporary leave to assist with the crisis, and incentivising private companies to reverse travel restrictions to affected regions.

“We call on our governments to take an active and dedicated role, in partnership with west African countries and the UN, to ensure that the response over the next months is managed transparently and effectively, and in ways that support complementary goals for human and economic development in the region”, say the authors.

The authors add that European countries should ensure that aid is channelled to organisations already on the ground, particularly those led or primarily staffed by west Africans. These groups have the strongest community roots and can best engage local populations in control efforts, say the authors.

At the same time, international donations need to support, rather than replace, local economies and social systems, donations need to be accountable, and affected populations need to benefit from their contributions to research.

Since Ban Ki-moon entreated the international community to help on Sept 5, 2014, several countries have stepped forward with donations, equipment, and personnel. This global response is long overdue, but we fully expect all our European democracies (predicated on principles of solidarity, equity, and social protections) to make up for lost time with celerity, determination, and commitment. The Ebola epidemic represents a public health imperative; unchecked, it might very well become a geopolitical crisis.

The outbreak in west Africa has killed nearly 3,000 people. The World Health Organization has warned the number of cases could explode in the coming months without an urgent response.

Read: Ebola education team killed amid fears of organ harvesting

Read: A worker from Irish aid agency Concern has died from a suspected case of Ebola in Liberia

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