Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have pledged to deploy over the next six months, 192 military medical personnel to strengthen the fight against the Ebola epidemic in the region’s most affected countries.
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo pledged to contribute eight military personnel each, including two medical doctors and six other health officers to be rotated every two months.
The pledges translate to 24 medical personnel per country and 192 in total, a statement from the sub-regional bloc said. The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) in Accra.
For effective and timely deployment, the Committee urged ECOWAS to put in place necessary financial and logistics support.
During the meeting, the regional defence chiefs were updated on the ECOWAS response initiatives against Ebola.
The CCDS Chairman and Ghana’s Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie, expressed appreciation to Member States and encouraged them to redeem their pledges. He also called on ECOWAS to facilitate the deployment by providing the required financial and logistics support.
ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Desire Ouédraogo told the meeting that the Commission has already disbursed over US$4.5 million to the affected Member States and through the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the ECOWAS specialized health agency, in collaboration with the AU and the African Development Bank, deployed 116 trained civilian health workers to the most affected countries.