Washington - A U.S. government technology expert who helped Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates launch the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will join the Obama administration's battle against Ebola in West Africa, administration officials said on Friday.
Steve VanRoekel is stepping down as chief information officer at the White House to join the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is overseeing the Obama administration's response to the outbreak, officials said.
VanRoekel's task as USAID's chief innovation officer will be to coordinate a U.S. response that involves up to 3,000 troops, 17 field hospitals, creation of regional air lift hubs and scores of American doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.
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The U.S. Defense Department is expected to spend up to $1 billion on the initiative, with nearly $200 million more coming from other federal sources including USAID, according to officials.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst since the disease was identified in 1976. Cases have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal.