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CUPE stands in solidarity with the people of West Africa and the front line health care workers who have been providing care for those affected by the Ebola virus, at great risk to their own health. On behalf CUPE members, CUPE is making donations of $10,000 to the Public Services International Aid Fund and $10,000 to Médecins Sans Frontières.

On August 8 the World Health Organization declared the current Ebola epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern.” The virus has already infected thousands of people, roughly half of whom have died, and continues to spread in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

Front line health care workers face multiple challenges in this epidemic, including understaffing, lack of or shortages of protective equipment, heat-stroke from long hours in protective equipment, and 16-hour work days. Since the beginning of this crisis hundreds have contracted the Ebola virus, with virtually half succumbing to the illness.

World leaders’ responses to this epidemic have been inadequate. When coupled with non-existent or patchwork public health capacities in West Africa we are facing an emergency that should concern people in every country. It is time for the UN to convene a special debate on the global response to Ebola and to address the necessity for mitigation measures. CUPE believes that Canada should take a leadership role and call for UN action now. CUPE also supports the call for the urgent deployment of bio-disaster response teams, from states with this capacity.

“We have called on the Prime Minister to increase Canada’s financial contributions so that front line workers have access to the equipment they need, to facilitate the service of additional medical personnel and to start the logistical planning necessary for the deployment of DART and our field hospitals, especially those that have teams of personnel trained to staff and operate isolation units,” said CUPE National President, Paul Moist.

CUPE members understand the sacrifices being made by thousands of frontline health care workers.

We are keeping those workers in our thoughts.

CUPE’s National Executive Board adopted a statement on September 24, 2014 supporting frontline health care workers caring for victims of this epidemic.

CUPE locals and members are encouraged to make their own donations.