The European Union has on Monday in Brussels launched an emergency medical corps, named
“European Medical Corps” to respond to future disease outbreaks.
Christos Stylianides, EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, said the launching was aimed at creating a much faster and more efficient EU response to health crises when they occurred.
“We need to learn the lessons from the Ebola response, a key difficulty during Ebola outbreak is mobilising medical teams.
The commissioner said they did not want a repeat performance of struggling to react quickly to crisis, as it was during the Ebola crisis that began in late 2013.
“Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,300 people and infected 28,500, as it spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
Stylianides said the EU ran into difficulties in responding to the haemorrhagic fever, with various logistical challenges hampering its effort to deliver help to the country’s most in need.
“As a result, Germany and France proposed the establishment of “white helmets,” medical experts and healthcare workers to respond to disease outbreaks.
“This has laid the groundwork for the EU programme being unveiled Monday.
Stylianides said the medical corps would include emergency medical and public health teams, mobile biosafety laboratories, evacuation capacities, medical assessment experts and logistical support teams.
The commissioner said the teams could be mobilised for any type of emergency with health consequences, at short notice, while member states could opt out of individual deployments.
Stylianides, however, said So far, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands had contributed teams and equipment to the voluntary programme.
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