According to The Associated Press, Australia on Monday (September 29) ruled out sending physicians to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak there because of logistical problems in repatriating Australian medical staff that might contract Ebola while in Africa.
Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, as well as the Australian opposition party have called on the government to send a medical team to assist in a worsening physician shortage in West Africa where the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola has killed more than 3,000 people.
Yet, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that both the Australian Health and Defense Departments had both advised that Australia could not safely evacuate Australian health workers back home if they contract the deadly virus.
"The Australian government is not about to risk the health of Australian workers in the absence of credible evacuation plans that could bring our people back to Australia," Bishop told reporters.
COMMENT: Considering that the total population of Australia is only 23.6 million, it is completely understandable why Canberra is particularly concerned with the safe expatriation of physicians who potentially might contract Ebola while in West Africa.
A US doctor who was exposed to Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone was admitted Sunday (September 28) to a hospital at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) near Washington, DC, the health agency said.
Four other US aid workers who were sickened by Ebola while volunteering in the West African outbreak have been treated at hospitals in Georgia and Nebraska. One remains hospitalized while others have recovered.
Australia announced two weeks ago that it would immediately provide an additional 7 million Australian dollars ($6.4 million) to help the international response to the outbreak.