Israel’s experience in dealing with emergency situations makes it a valuable asset to the international community during times of crisis. Following urgent pleas from the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the US government, and others, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated NIS 1.2 million (approx. $313,000) to help combat the Ebola virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate. “We perceive these direct requests as testimony to the well-known Israeli willingness of constant assistance in crisis situations,“ said head of MASHAV, Ambassador Gil Haskel.
MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation has teamed up with SAREL, Israel’s one-stop-shop for medical equipment and emergency supplies, to launch operation “Hospitals of Hope” aimed at providing much-needed equipment to the West African countries hit hardest by the virus, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
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Launched on November 11th, the containers should take 30 to 40 days to reach their destinations. The medical shipments expected to arrive will include mobile clinics with a capacity of 20 beds each, protective gear for healthcare workers, as well as a treatment cart and all the equipment needed to set up the clinics as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the meantime, Israeli NGOs, such as “ISRA-AID” and “Israel Flying Aid” will continue to recruit doctors and assist local medical teams as they begin to operate the clinics.
Israel’s immediate response to the Ebola outbreak was to provide the region with basic medical equipment, medication, and protective gear. An early request was made by the UN and US to send Israeli Defense Force field hospitals to the region, but the Ministry of Defense declined. Fear of exposing the Israeli medical teams to infection coupled with the difficulty of providing security for each encampment caused great concern. Instead, a team of doctors was dispatched to peripheral countries to assist in emergency preparedness and prevention, and the Foreign Ministry also upped the level of Israeli aid to the region.
Now, MASHAV is switching gears and getting ready to initiate their long-term response by building clinics and providing training to the local population.
MASHAV Ambassador Haskel told ISRAEL21c, “We are working together with African countries at their request and in accordance with the situation on the ground. Israel has unique expertise in the medical realm, and we willingly share our knowledge with all nations.”