Canada sending medics to West Africa to fight Ebola

Ottawa: Canada will send 40 military medics to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak, officials said Thursday while also encouraging Canadian health care workers to join the fight.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose said an estimated 350 international care workers and specialists are needed at Ebola treatment centers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

These countries are facing a shortage of doctors and nurses, as well as psychologists, water and sanitation engineers, and infection prevention and control staff, she said.

"We're asking health care workers to join the fight," she said.

Ambrose announced Can$20.9 million (US$18.4 million) for treatment efforts, including training for Canadian medical staff who would deploy to West Africa on how to deal with infectious diseases.

The Canadian Red Cross will train and deploy recruits for eight-week stints. The military medics will be deployed to Sierra Leone alongside their British counterparts for up to six months.

The new funding brings Canada's total contribution to the fight against Ebola to Can$113.5 million (US$100.1 million).