President Obama is expected to announce Tuesday that he’s sending up to 3,000 military personnel to combat the Ebola virus in West Africa.
Obama will announce the stepped-up offensive against the outbreak, which has killed more than 2,200 people in five West African countries, in an appearance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Administration officials said that the U.S. would help to provide medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic. The Defense Department has asked Congress for nearly $500 million in existing funds to be put toward the effort. The money would otherwise be used to support overseas contingency operations, such as the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.
The new initiatives include training as many as 500 health care workers a week; erecting 17 heath care facilities with approximately 100 beds each; setting up a joint command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to coordinate between U.S. and international relief efforts; providing home health care kits to hundreds of thousands of households, including 50,000 that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will deliver to Liberia this week; and carrying out a home- and community-based campaign to train local populations on how to handle exposed patients.