Washington - The United States will send thousands of troops to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by building clinics and training hundreds of healthcare workers, US President Barack Obama is to announce on Tuesday.
Obama called the outbreak a national security threat and planned to travel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to meet with experts working to combat the disease.
US military engineers will co-ordinate with local governments to build 17 clinics with 100 beds each to care for Ebola patients amid a shortage of facilities in the hardest-hit nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, senior administration officials told reporters ahead of Obama's trip.
Home healthcare kits
The US will also train up to 500 healthcare workers a week for at least six months in how to respond to the epidemic and will distribute thousands of home healthcare kits to educate the public about Ebola and provide disinfectant, sanitizer and medication, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
The department of defence's Africa Command will establish a joint command in Monrovia, Liberia to oversee US and international efforts and is to devote some 3 000 troops to the aid effort, officials said.
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The additional US commitment comes on top of $175m Washington has already devoted to aid such as health supplies and 100 CDC experts assisting in Africa. Obama is to seek additional funds from Congress, and the department of defence plans to reallocate some $500m from elsewhere in its budget to fund much of the Ebola fighting operations.
The US effort would focus on controlling the epidemic in Africa; mitigating broader public health, political, social and economic impacts; co-ordinating US efforts as part of the international effort and fortifying the global health security infrastructure, an official said.
The World Health Organisation said more international medical workers are needed to fight the outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever that has killed more than 2 400 people.