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Australia not ready for Ebola epidemic

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 22 Oct 2014

Australian Greens Health Spokesperson and former public health professional, Dr Richard Di Natale, today questioned the Federal Government’s Chief Health Officer about what training that has been provided to Australian health personnel that could be deployed to combat Ebola in our region.

“The Prime Minister has flown to Papua New Guinea to discuss preparations should Ebola reach our region however this morning we have learned that Australia’s health personnel have not yet received the specific training required for deployment in the field,” said Senator Di Natale.

“Health workers who are currently in West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic have receive intensive training in Europe before deployment.

“The Federal Government’s Chief Medical Officer told Senate Estimates this morning that Australia has not provided specific training to our health workers that could be deployed.

“If the Prime Minister was to decide today that Australia should in fact deploy health personnel to combat Ebola either in West Africa or in Papua New Guinea it would take several weeks for them to be fully trained.

“As someone who has worked in the public health field I am staggered that we are not being proactive enough to train our personnel for the unique circumstances around treating and containing an Ebola epidemic. When it comes to containing infectious diseases, urgency and preparedness is key yet it appears as though Australia has been sitting on its hands.”

Media Contact – Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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