Geneva - Medical aid organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Tuesday launched an online training programme aimed at helping aid workers involved in fighting the raging Ebola outbreak.
The organisation, which is playing a leading role in fighting the outbreak that has killed some 5,000 people, said its training platform was "available to anyone wishing to gain a basic understanding of the virus and how it can be contained."
Since the epidemic began in west Africa late last year, more than 700 international MSF staff have travelled to hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and they have trained nearly 3,000 people locally in how to safely fight the spread of the deadly virus.
MSF has also, by itself and jointly with the Red Cross, been running theoretical and practical training programmes for hundreds of aid workers heading into Ebola-hit areas, for instance showing them how to safely put on and remove the layers of protective gear needed when working with Ebola patients.
Also read: Ebola cases in decline in Liberia, MSF says
The organisation, which through its work addressing previous, far smaller outbreaks of the virus has built up a small core of experts, said it wanted to ensure the knowledge was spread far more widely, to allow others to build up a similar expertise.
"The best way of avoiding Ebola spreading beyond west Africa is to tackle it at the source," MSF chief Joanne Liu said in the statement.
"We know that the main issue on the ground is having sufficient staff trained to work in a highly contagious environment," she said, stressing that "to treat more patients, it is imperative we train more people both locally and internationally."
MSF said it was therefore "now offering doctors, nurses, health educators and psychologists from all the organisations involved in the Ebola fight an interactive course on the virus."
The aim of the e-briefing is to provide clear information about Ebola, how it spreads and the difficulties of managing the virus, it said.
The International Organization for Migration said Tuesday that all the health workers at a newly opened Ebola treatment unit it helped build in Liberia had undergone training with MSF or with International Medical Corps "to minimise the risk of infection."
MSF meanwhile manages six Ebola treatment centres across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with a total of 600 beds in the isolation units.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, more than 5,600 patients have been admitted to these centres, and 3,500 cases of the disease have been confirmed. Some 1,400 of those patients survived, MSF said.
The new online training programme, in English, can be found >nl/mnb/gd