Melbourne: Australian Prime Minsiter Tony Abbott today said his government will increase its financial aid to combat Ebola in West Africa to up to USD 20 million and strengthen preparations to detect a possible case of the life-threatening disease in the country.
Abbott, in an official statement, announced hiring a health service provider to manage and run a 100-bed Ebola treatment facility in Sierra Leone, as part of the UK-led international efforts in the country.
"Discussions are underway with Aspen Medical, an Australian company, in this regard," he said, adding the Ebola treatment facility will be staffed mainly by local health care workers, supported by a contingent of international staff, including some Australian volunteers.
Australia will contribute up to USD 20 million over the next eight months for this treatment facility, he said.
Abbott said that the government has discussed the evolving situation, including measures to treat health workers, with the UK and US and other nations and has now received credible assurances for in-country treatment and medical evacuation for Australian volunteers who provide health care in West Africa.
Apart from this, Australia would also provide USD 2 million to RedR Australia, a humanitarian agency for international emergency relief, to fund the deployment of technical experts to non-frontline roles in the UN's Ebola response.
Australia will also contribute to the development of a World Health Organisation regional response plan and a study on the risks and possible impacts of an Ebola outbreak in the country.