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The United States military logistics response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa

Health care operations are being established as part of US Operation United Assistance.

The level of logistics efforts is enormous as we strive to provided health care workers the systems they need to safely execute. According to the Pentagon, “The U.S. Africa Command, through U.S. Army Africa, provides coordination of logistics, training, and engineering support to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in West Africa to assist in the overall U.S. Government Foreign Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief efforts to contain the spread of the Ebola virus/disease, as part of the international assistance effort supporting the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.”

The US military has the equipment needed to provide the necessary logistics. Our equipment and capacity is beyond the reach of private organizations. With over 200 C-17 transport aircraft, the US military has the lift capability to reach anywhere in the world. This is especially critical in humanitarian efforts.

The immediate goal is to establish 12 Ebola treatment units, spread throughout Liberia, each with a 100-bed capacity. Once built, the units will be turned over to the local governments and staffed by local and international health care providers. Unit 1 was operational in October. Also established is a training facility for the workers and an intermediate staging base in Senegal.

Another critical need was setting up 2 mobile laboratories, which can turn samples around within 24 hours. An air bridge was set up in Senegal to speed logistics into areas with no roads or roads clogged with mud.

Next on the critical list, was a 25-bed hospital, dedicated to the treatment of health care workers that are infected. It is fully operational, staffed by volunteers from the U.S. Public Health Service

In addition, the Pentagon is preparing for the possibility of an Ebola outbreak in the United States, according to the military news publication Stars and Stripes. The preparations include the formation of a 30-person team that could operate inside the United States to provide military support to civilian authorities. “We do the same thing when there are forest fires,” Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren told Stars and Stripes, “and obviously there are firemen who are capable of fighting forest fires. Same situation here—this is planning, this is creating a team who if requested…can support a specific location.”

Resource: Steve Geary

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