The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) and the Doctors Reform Society (DRS) have united in their call for the Abbott Government to step up and offer increased assistance to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
National President of the DRS, Dr Con Costa, said it was imperative for Australia to play a role in tackling the international health emergency.
“Our government must extend an adequate financial contribution to support efforts on the ground in West Africa and make arrangements for our medical expertise to play a role. Clearly, an $18 million contribution is not enough,” Dr Costa said.
“It is not the time for Mr Abbott to be recalcitrant on this issue.
“There are both medical and technical personnel in Australia who would be willing to offer their expertise on the ground, yet the Government appears to be stalling when time is critical in this situation.”
General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, agreed that the Government needed to act swiftly and make arrangements for the doctors and nurses who were willing to travel abroad.
“We are well aware of the protocols and procedures in place to manage any potential outbreaks from a domestic standpoint – our medical professionals are well informed. The broader issue is still the national response,” Mr Holmes said.
“The World Health Organisation has made it abundantly clear that developed nations need to step up their commitments and help bring the outbreak under control before it is too late.
“Mr Abbott’s current stance on the situation is an abrogation of his responsibility as Prime Minister of Australia.
The severity of the Ebola outbreak, as well as the urgency for the Abbott Government to authorise doctors and nurses willing to travel to West Africa, has been discussed as a priority during a meeting of the DRS National Executive in Sydney today.
Both organisations also highlighted their concerns about the ridicule Australia could be subjected to in relation to the Abbott Government response, when the Leaders of the G20 converge on Brisbane next month.
NB: Dr Con Costa and Mr Brett Holmes will be joined by Ebola expert Dr Anthony Zwi at 11:15am TODAY, Saturday 18 October 2014, for media comments at the NSWNMA Office, 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo, NSW 2017
Joint media release: Doctors and nurses agree – Australia must help tackle Ebola crisis