Fear and indifference leave West Africa desperate for Ebola staff
Trevor Hughes, director of security and risk management at U.S.-based International Relief and Development, which has staff on the ground, said Ebola was testing the limits of people who are used to volunteering for crises.
"There is an issue of the obvious, which is certainly fear," he said, adding that while organizations offered training, equipment and support, volunteers still worried about issues like insurance, logistics and whether sufficient standards were being maintained in a chaotic crisis zone.
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Cuba, however, has bucked the trend, with Havana training up 461 doctors and nurses so they can help fight Ebola. So far, 256 have been dispatched to West Africa.
Having been criticized for not doing enough to help while also imposing border closures and travel restrictions that have hurt Ebola-hit nations, African nations are now starting to pledge medics.
Doctors from Uganda, with years of experience fighting Ebola, are helping run a clinic in Monrovia. Congo, which has faced six outbreaks back home, is training 1,000 volunteers.
East African Nations have promised over 600 health workers and Nigeria, which has successfully contained its Ebola cases this year, has pledged 500 medics.
Ian Quick, director at Rethink Fragility, an organization that focuses on fragile states, said the Ebola response was echoing current trends international peacekeeping, where rich states provide funds but poor nations send personnel.
“It makes sense in terms of comparative advantage ... but does tend to stick in everyone's craw ethically.”