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Obama praising doctors fighting Ebola in Africa

30 October 2014, 07:05

Washington - President Barack Obama is surrounding himself with health care workers battling Ebola in West Africa to showcase what he calls their "incredible heroism" and to help ensure that the government's response to the disease doesn't discourage such workers from volunteering there.

Amid debate between the federal government and several states over how returning health care workers should be monitored, Obama planned to make remarks from the White House on Wednesday afternoon with medical professionals who have been to Africa or are about to go.

The White House has argued that stricter measures adopted by states such as New Jersey and New York could hurt efforts to recruit doctors and nurses to volunteer their services in West Africa.

The federal government's guidance says only health care workers who have been exposed to Ebola directly, such as through a needle pin prick or by not having adequate protection, should face isolation.

Also Read: Sierra Leone leader: Change behavior to end Ebola

Still, Pentagon guidelines announced on Wednesday for US troops returning from Ebola response missions in West Africa be kept in supervised isolation for 21 days. Obama has said the military's situation is different from that of civilians, in part because troops are not in West Africa by choice.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest on Wednesday rejected suggestions that the policies employed by the Pentagon and by states that are stricter than CDC guidelines conveys a mixed message to the American public.

"The fact of the matter is, those differences in application of the policy have not interfered with the ability of the federal government to coordinate with them as these policies are implemented," he said.

The president was to be introduced by Dr Kent Brantly, who was infected with Ebola while working in Liberia and was successfully treated in the United States.

Ahead of his appearance, Obama was meeting in the secure Situation Room with his public health and national security teams on the government's Ebola response.

- AP


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