The Federal Government must respond to requests for help from the international community and send medical teams to West Africa to combat the Ebola crisis, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said today.
The call comes as a new national survey conducted by the ANMF has received an extraordinary response from Australian nurses and midwives. The preliminary results of the survey, which asks for nurses’ and midwives’ views on Ebola, show the majority believe the Abbott Government must co-ordinate health teams from Australia to support the international fight against the Ebola epidemic.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to our national survey,” ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said today.
“In just over 12 hours, 135 nurses responded saying they would volunteer to be part of a health team to assist with Ebola if the Government coordinated the effort. Almost 90% believe the Government should prioritise Australian resources towards guaranteeing the safe return of Australian volunteers.
“We’re not surprised that our nurses will always want to act on their concern to help others, but we’ve been staggered by the number of nurses and midwives who have taken part in the survey so far and called on the Government to do more.
“The Prime Minister and the Health Minister must realise that Australian nurses and midwives are deeply concerned by the Ebola crisis and our Government’s failure to respond to calls for help from other Western Governments in coordinating health teams to help in the international relief effort.
“Some of our members even commented that they felt embarrassed by the Australian Government’s reluctance to participate in the international fight against Ebola.
“It’s time the Government listens to its allies and Australian nurses and midwives and directly assists in treating the thousands of Ebola victims and stopping the disease from spreading even further.
“Nurses are both willing and able to help in the ongoing fight against this epidemic. Nurses and doctors from the US and EU countries are already on the ground and our Government should be doing the same, organising a dedicated team of Australian health professionals to join the humanitarian efforts in West Africa.”
The ANMF survey will run until later next week when full results will be made public. To take part, go to http://action.anf.org.au/page/s/ebola-survey
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