The U.S. military Ebola mission is underway in West Africa. As we begin our mission to halt the spread of the Ebola virus, is our mission truly defined? Are we showing up too late to the battle against the Ebola epidemic to make a difference?
Most health officials feel that the number of reported Ebola cases and the number of reported deaths are being vastly underreported. As of September 23, 6,574 Ebola cases and 3,091 deaths reported. Now multiply those by at least three and you may have a more realistic look a the Ebola epidemic.
U.S. Military Ebola Mission Not Finalized
On September 16, President Obama announced that 3,000 U.S. troops would go to West Africa to fight the spread of the Ebola virus. Some of our military duties are clearly defined. We will aid in hospital construction, help train medical personnel and unload medical supplies.
As we write this blog post, U.S. military personnel are already constructing tent hospitals in West Africa. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, troops from the Navy’s 133rd Mobile Construction Battalion recently began building the first of a dozen planned hospitals outside the main airport in Liberia, one of three countries that has been hit the hardest by the epidemic.
But even as we begin our U.S. military Ebola mission, officials do not have a finalized plan for this mission. According to some reports, “U.S. officials are still hashing out final details of the mission.” Could this lack of a clearly defined final mission put our troops in harms way?
Slow Start to U.S. Military Ebola Mission
Besides a clearly defined mission, is our military aid response to the Ebola virus too late?
That was one of the main questions in the same Wall Street Journal article referenced above. It was a question addressed by an official from relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.
“There is no argument the disease is out in front of the response,” Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, told the paper. “Where we are today is where we should have been 60 to 90 days ago.”
Will our U.S. military Ebola mission slow response hurt our chances to halt the Ebola epidemic? Should we expect more urgency from other nations who are even slower to provide military aid?