(Story updated at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday, Sept. 16.)
President Barack Obama has outlined a heightened U.S. effort to fight the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
The new initiatives aim to:
- Assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local healthcare systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic.
- Train as many as 500 healthcare workers a week.
- Erect 17 heathcare facilities in the region of 100 beds each.
- Set up a joint command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to coordinate between U.S. and international relief efforts.
- Provide home healthcare kits to hundreds of thousands of households, including 50,000 that the U.S. Agency for International Development will deliver to Liberia this week
- Carry out a home- and community-based campaign to train local populations on how to handle exposed patients.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the 3,000 troops would not provide direct care to Ebola patients. A substantial number of troops will be stationed at an intermediate base in Senegal, Earnest said, with others at locations in Liberia where they will provide logistical, training, engineering and other support.
During an interview on the NBC Sunday morning news show “Meet the Press” on Sept. 7, Obama called containing the epidemic a “national security priority,” stressing the importance of a U.S.-led effort now before the virus spreads beyond the affected region.