House Subcommittee on Africa to Host Emergency Hearing on Ebola
Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, introduced legislation along with 57 of her House colleagues calling upon the United States to work with international health authorities to assist Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia–nations impacted by the Ebola crisis–in the development and fielding of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics to treat victims and those at risk of contracting this deadly disease.
“I want to commend the steps being taken by the US government, the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and the great work Doctors Without Borders and the many health professionals from throughout the world who are doing everything they can to help people who have contracted this awful disease,” said Bass. “It is in America’s and the world’s interest to assist in this crisis and continue to support nations as they work to develop and strengthen their health care systems. Health care is a human right, we must ensure that countries have the ability to address this outbreak and prevent future health epidemics from occurring.”
Specifically, the legislation asserts that the current outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is an international health crisis and is the largest and most widespread outbreak of the disease ever recorded. It acknowledges the lifesaving work already done by the Ministry of Health of Guinea, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia, the United States Government, the WHO, Doctors Without Borders, and other international partners. The bill also calls on the international community and all nations to immediately provide additional resources and services to develop the capacity of affected nations to address current and future public health crises.
“Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” said Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC )and Prevention, announcing the level 3 advisory — its strongest level — against travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. “The current outbreak is bad. It’s the biggest and most complex and first time it’s presented in this region of the world.”
The CDC announced recently that the agency will send 50 additional personnel over the next 30 days to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to assist the 12 staff members already on the ground in those countries.
According to the World Health Organization there have been 1,323 cases reported and 729 deaths since the first report of the deadly virus surfaced in March.
The hearing will air live on the Committee website at www.foreignaffairs.house.gov.