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Ebola outbreak

Travel access vital to fighting Ebola

While the epidemic continues to worsen, NGOs are experiencing difficulties responding to such an unprecedented global health epidemic. NGO Alliance warns travel restriction could cripple U.S. response to outbreak.

WASHINGTON – InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S. NGOs working on global poverty and humanitarian assistance efforts, warned leaders in Congress and the White House this week that flight restrictions could cripple the efforts of American NGOs responding to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

In a letter sent Wednesday to members of Congress and key Obama administration officials, InterAction President and CEO Sam Worthington warned that a travel ban would, “create an insurmountable obstacle to helping countries fight Ebola.”

“To beat Ebola we must be able to fly [health] workers in and out of West Africa,” Worthington said.

While the epidemic continues to worsen, NGOs are experiencing difficulties responding to such an unprecedented global health epidemic. The already limited availability of commercial flights and transportation constraints has already constrained the ability of U.S. NGOs to get staff, equipment and medical supplies to the countries in need.

A travel ban would exacerbate these challenges and worsen the already dire humanitarian situation. It also could reduce needed expertise on the front lines of the fight against Ebola, “as healthcare workers would be hesitant to deploy if they would not be able to return home,” Worthington stressed.

“Flight bans also serve to intensify feelings of isolation by the affected populations and the humanitarians deployed,” the letter continued, “as well as create fear and suspicion by the public at large.” Only two commercial airlines, according to analysis by the Global Logistics Cluster, are currently flying into the affected areas from Europe.

InterAction members are working actively with the U.S. government, regional officials and other key international organizations to respond to the unprecedented outbreak by providing a combination of clinical care, logistical support and effective community outreach. Over 30 InterAction members currently are responding to this complex crisis. Most have operated in the region for years. Some have been there since the first infection.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has morphed into a humanitarian crisis with sweeping effects on the daily lives of millions in Africa. The secondary economic ripple effect of the Ebola outbreak could impact countless other communities globally as the production of food, cash crops and other commodities normally produced in affected regions slows.

With effective control measures, such as community engagement and increased capacity for clinical management, the epidemic can be contained. Without the NGO community and its supported health workers on the ground treating patients in West Africa, however, it will be very difficult to end this crisis.

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 180 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. To learn more visit our website. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFA Issues Ebola Protection And Response Checklist
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), the world’s largest Flight Attendant union representing nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 19 carriers, notified Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain and key federal agencies overseeing aviation safety and health of protective and response measures needed to support aviation’s first responders and safe air travel.

“Given the serious nature of the Ebola virus disease and its potentially grave threat to public health and national security, we continue to believe and insist that voluntary measures and mere guidance from public health authorities are inadequate to bring this situation under control,” said Sara Nelson, AFA International President. “AFA urges several measures be put into effect immediately through the relevant agencies to ensure that the health of all airline workers and the public at large are protected. Implementing these actions at each of our nation’s airlines will also reassure the traveling public and protect our U.S. aviation industry.”

AFA’s checklist includes responsible actions for managing and containing communicable diseases. By focusing efforts on prevention for all crewmembers, aircraft cleaning, and a collaborative response plan with airline management in the event of an Ebola exposure in-flight, AFA is leading efforts to minimize, contain, and eradicate the risk of Ebola from being further spread through civil aviation.

“The current Ebola outbreak has created a risk for aviation workers across the country. We cannot sit idly by and wait for the situation to disappear. AFA will continue to advocate for all measures necessary to best protect the health of aviation’s first responders and the passengers in our care on each flight,” said Nelson.

The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 69 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.