By AMY STOCKWELL
Over the past week a political debate has broken out about whether Australia is doing its fair share to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
Ebola has now infected 9000 people and killed more than 4500 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the number of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone and Liberia is doubling every 20 days, and by January could reach 1.4 million cases on present trends.
The world has a deadline of the next 60 days in which to effectively tackle this problem, the UN and WHO have said.
So why should Australia send help to West Africa?
An Ebola victim.
1. We have the expertise.
So far, Australia has committed $18M to tackle the spread of Ebola in West Africa. They have yet to commit any personnel or any other practical or logistical support.
Australia is home to some of the world’s best-trained health-care workers and medical scientists, so you might expect the Australian Government to be sending teams of highly qualified people to help – but, so far, the Government has been reluctant to commit.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said: “We aren’t going to send Australian doctors and nurses into harm’s way without being absolutely confident that all of the risks are being properly managed, and at the moment, we cannot be confident that that is the case.”