A number of United States lawmakers have written to President Barack Obama calling for expanded U.S. response to the Ebola epidemic by authorizing U.S. military medical personnel to provide direct care to patients in West Africa.
The letter dated November 12 was signed by Senators Chris Coons, Martin Heinrich as well as Representatives Keith Ellison, Karen Bass Barbara Lee, John Conyers, Raúl M. Grijalva, Jose Serrano, Frederica Wilson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Brad Sherman, Judy Chu, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Jim Moran.
The lawmakers also urged President Obama to resist calls for an air travel ban on passengers from West Africa, and to dedicate additional U.S. military airlift capacity for aid workers.
“The safety of the American people and our uniformed personnel is of great concern, and this must be accounted for and addressed in every aspect of the U.S. government’s Ebola response effort,” said the letter, a copy of which reached the Liberia News Agency Thursday.
It said while the Congressmen welcome recent reports that new infections may finally be on the decline in Liberia, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa remains a global public health and humanitarian crisis that threatens the national security of the United States.
“Public health experts agree that the single best way to protect against the further spread of Ebola into other countries, including the United States, is to stop it at the source in West Africa, and we cannot become complacent in confronting it,” they emphasized.
The U.S. Congressmen pledged their full support to the Obama administration’s commitments toward that end, including funding requests and the Executive Order issued on October 16.
They recalled the deployment of 1,800 troops in West Africa assisting with Ebola response efforts, with more expected to be deployed in the coming weeks.
“These troops include engineers, logisticians, and health professionals – all specifically trained for crisis conditions. The commitment of up to 4,000 military personnel under Operation United Assistance to assist with constructing Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) and the logistical response in the region are essential contributions,” they further said.