Ebola: EU assists with the evacuation of health workers

Medical staff get ready before entering the high-risk red zone. In this area, suspected and confirmed cases are admitted. Wearing personal protective equipment is compulsory. Guinea Conakry. Photo credit: Cherkaoui/Cosmos for Alima
Over recent days, the EU has facilitated the evacuation of six international health workers from Ebola-hit West Africa to equipped European hospitals.
“We pay tribute to the tremendous courage of the healthcare workers who are risking their lives every day in the fight against Ebola”, said Christos Stylianides, EU Ebola Coordinator and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
To ensure the safety of international healthcare workers, the European Commission has established a medical evacuation system. The system ensures that humanitarian workers diagnosed with the Ebola virus or exposed to high-risk situations can be rapidly evacuated for treatment in Europe.
Caregivers are everyday in the frontline of the fight against the deadly Ebola epidemic in West Africa. They are tirelessly tending to the needs on the ground, but face a risk to fall ill themselves while treating Ebola-infected patients. Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, over 800 doctors, nurses and other health personnel have been infected with the virus according to the World Health Organisation. More than half of them have died.
Background
The medical evacuation system MEDEVAC is managed by the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre. Planes equipped for the transport of Ebola patients are provided by EU Member states. The EU has also signed agreements with external contractors to ensure that additional capacity is available if needed. MEDEVAC is an integral part of the EU’s comprehensive response to the Ebola outbreak.