It's a dramatic move, and it could present a big shift in the battle against an outbreak that has already caused 2,400 deaths and is feared to result in many, many more.
It could come at a crucial time. Despite the scale of the problem, the World Health Organization (WHO), which bills itself as the “coordinating authority on international health work" and has taken the lead on Ebola, has been described as under-funded by critics and a “a shadow of its former self" due to recent cuts. This week, the United Nations announced that more than $1 billion would be needed to fight Ebola.
America's announcement has largely won praise from international experts. But what is the rest of the world doing? Here's some of the publicly announced plans from other nations.
China will expand its medical staff in Sierra Leone, one of the countries worst hit by Ebola, to 174, the United Nations announced Tuesday. Earlier this week, the Chinese government announced that it would send a further $32 million in aid to African nations and international organizations fighting Ebola, in addition to $4.8 million it had sent in August.
Britain recently announced that it would be sending its own troops and humanitarian experts to Sierra Leone to help fight the outbreak. While the exact number of troops was not revealed, it was said that they would help set up a 62-bed medical treatment facility in the country. The British government has committed $40 million to fighting Ebola so far, the U.K. Department for International Development announced last week.
At the beginning of September, France announced that it would be sending 20 specialists in biological disasters to help fight Ebola. As of Aug. 28, the French foreign ministry had donated almost $200,000 to the "French Red Cross" to support the fight against Ebola in Guinea. Medical supplies were also being delivered to the affected countries, and the French embassy has been working with local authorities. France has supported the European humanitarian agency's work against Ebola with more than $1 million in donations.
French development secretary Annick Girardin is also set to become the first European minister to visit the region since the outbreak began when she travels to Guinea to tour Ebola treatment units this weekend.
The German Foreign Ministry has established an action committee on Ebola and donated $1.81 million by Sept. 8. The country’s development ministry has also supported related World Health Organization projects with $1.29 million. Public funding supports the work of Germany’s Bernard-Nocht-Institute in Guinea, which helps to diagnose and fight Ebola.
The European Union
The supranational European body has pledged almost $200,000 to help fight Ebola, and announced this week that Liberia and Sierra Leone will receive further financial assistance. The E.U. has also reportedly deployed mobile labs to the countries worst affected to help with diagnosis and training.
In August, Russia announced that it would be sending a team of several dozen scientists to create a mobile laboratory in Guinea. At the time, the head of the immunology and virology laboratory at St. Petersburg’s Pasteur Scientific Research Institute, Alexander Semyonov, told reporters that Russian scientists had developed a vaccine for Ebola. Last week, Moscow agreed to work with Sierra Leone to fight the virus.
Canada announced that it would be sending more than $2 million worth of medical equipment to West Africa on Tuesday. Canada had previously announced more than $3 million in donations to Médecins Sans Frontières and WHO, followed by a further $1 million Aug. 18. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) also has a team of experts operating a mobile lab in Sierra Leone.
In September, Israel announced that it would be sending two doctors to Cameroon to help fight Ebola.
Cuba announced this week that it would be sending 165 doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone to battle Ebola.
On Sept. 10, Turkey announced that it would be sending unspecified amounts of medical equipment to Gambia, which has yet to have a reported case of Ebola. Earlier in the year, Ankara had announced that it would send $50,000 to the country to help its fight against Ebola, and help with training medical staff in the country.
In August, Brazil announced that it would be sending enough drugs to treat Ebola victims to affected countries. The drugs sent would treat 7,000 people for three months, Brazil's government said in a statement. The country later held Ebola readiness drills in Rio de Janeiro and donated approximately $450,000 for the WHO aiming to strengthen actions against the transmission of Ebola virus.
Rick Noack contributed to this post.
Correction: Due to a translation error, this post originally stated that the drugs being sent by Brazil were enough to to treat 500 people for 3 months. In fact, these drugs could treat 7,000 people for three months. The post has been amended to correct the error.