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'Philippines must join the fight against the Ebola virus raging in West Africa'

MANILA - Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said that the Philippines must join the International community in stopping the Ebola virus in its tracks by sending volunteers to areas affected by the current outbreak in West Africa

"We have to contain the Ebola virus in those areas, so as to protect our borders. In this day and age of air travel, we have to make sure that we have the necessary mechanisms in place to detect the Ebola virus at our airports, and have prepared isolation facilities when necessary. Ebola will come to the Philippines so the fight against Ebola must be waged in West Africa, and we must join the battle now so we can learn more about the pandemic. That is our humanitarian duty as Filipinos, which we are well known for throughout the globe" he said.
 
Gordon, who had just come from a meeting of the International Federation of the Red Cross in Geneva, said that the Philippine Red Cross is ready to deploy staff and volunteers to West Africa, after they had undergone intensive training and provided with equipment which will be done in cooperation with the Canadian Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross(IFRC).
 
 He added that the volunteers be deployed only for a month, and then quarantined for 21 days after completing their tour of duty.
 
He also called for volunteer doctors,nurses, medtechs, logistical experts, and other professionals necessary in the response of the Red Cross to contain the spread of  Ebola virus. He said that Mattea Bandol, a former financial manager of the PRC, is now active in Sierra Leone as part of the Red Cross response.
 
Gordon added that the Red Cross, as a worldwide movement, is engaged in beneficiary communication and community engagement, dead body management, burial and disinfection, psychosocial support, contact tracing and surveillance, clinical case management in the areas where the Ebola virus is raging.
 
153 International Staff are deployed  in West Africa, with 48 Red Cross staff deployed from Spain, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, UK, Colombia, Switzerland and Canada, and 108 local staff assisting at the Ebola treatment center in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Thousands of volunteers are also active in supporting the fight against Ebola, not only in West Africa, but in other nations as well.
 
 According to the World Health Organization, more than 8,000 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra leone have contracted Ebola since March, and more than 3,800 people have died of the disease. At least 14 cases of people stricken with the Ebola virus have been diagnosed, coming from  United States(6), Spain(3), Germany(2), Norway(1), France(1) and Great Britain(1).
 
Ebola is an infectious and contagious disease, spread through contact with an infected person’s or animal’s secretions, such as saliva or blood. There is no cure or vaccine.
 
Gordon said that since the Philippines is a '' beneficiary of the world's generosity during times of great pain and suffering when we had to deal with multiple calamities like typhoon Yolanda and the earthquake that hit Bohol, it is also our duty to help out when the world needs us. That time has come. "

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