Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 16 September 2014- The African Union is sending a team of health workers and other specialists to tackle the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa under its operation AU Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA).
The first batch of 30 volunteers under ASEOWA, to be deployed to Liberia, is now at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa and is undergoing pre deployment briefing to prepare them for the mission.
The team, comprising epidemiologists, clinicians, public health specialists and communications personnel, is expected to depart the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on Wednesday 17th September. All the experts are volunteers coming from five countries i.e. Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ethioipa.
ASEOWA is expected to enhance the capacity of existing national and international response mechanisms through mobilisation of technical expertise, resources, political and financial support. It will complement the efforts of on-going humanitarian assistance and coordinate support provided to the affected member states to augment field response operations. It will also support public awareness and preventive measures across Africa and specifically in the affected region.
Dr Julius Oketta, a Major General is leading the ASEOWA mission. He is already in Monrovia awaiting the arrival of the rest of the team.
“You are unique in that you will be carrying the African banner in your mission. This is the time for Africa to show solidarity with the affected countries”, said AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko at the briefing workshop for the ASEOWA mission today. He thanked the volunteers for offering their time and expertise and also thanked the different partners who are working in collaboration with the African Union to defeat Ebola.
A second batch of volunteers will soon be deployed to Siera Leonne.