Govt's $20m Ebola aid package welcomed by health groups

10 November, 2014

The Federal Government's decision to commit a further $20 million to a new 100-bed Ebola treatment facility in Sierra Leone has been welcomed by key health lobby groups, chief among them the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) and Consumers Health Forum (CHF).

ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, described the decision, which followed two months of lobbying the Government by the ANMF and other health groups, as a relief and a "terrific first step".

ANMF: "We can do more"

"For the past eight weeks, the ANMF has been calling on the Government to get involved in the international relief effort in West Africa because we know that containing this Ebola outbreak at its source is the best way to defeat it," Thomas said.

"That's why we are very pleased to see the Government's response in West Africa and plans for increased preparedness at home, including a commitment to use Australian teams and provide additional funding for counties in our region if needed.

"But we know that we can do more.

"We have 350 Australian nurses who have already told the ANMF they are ready and willing to volunteer in West Africa.

"These nurses are highly trained healthcare professionals, passionate about working on the ground in West Africa, with the skills and expertise to ensure that the Ebola epidemic is contained at the source."

CHF: 'Belated but good news'

CHF Chief Executive Officer Adam Stankevicius said: "CHF is a member of IAPO and we say the move by Australia to make a greater contribution to combat Ebola is belated but it is good news for the hard-hit people of West Africa and also for Australians who want to take action and know that it is in the best long term interests of Australia for the spread of Ebola to be halted."