Gil Haskel, Head of MASHAV, speaking at the Nov. 11 launch of Operation Hospitals of Hope.
Gil Haskel, Head of MASHAV, speaking at the Nov. 11 launch of Operation Hospitals of Hope. Photo by Yossi Zamir

MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, launched Operation Hospitals of Hope this week as its newest weapon to help Africa fight the severe Ebola epidemic.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is earmarking NIS 1.2 million to the project, which is part of its ongoing contributions to the global fight against the deadly virus.

Israel will send two containers of medical equipment to each of three countries hard-hit by the virus – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The equipment includes mobile clinics with a capacity of 20 beds each, in addition to protective equipment for healthcare workers, a treatment cart and everything needed to set up the clinics quickly and start treating patients immediately.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked us to help in the international fight against the Ebola virus, and we immediately agreed,” said Avi Buskila, CEO of Sarel Supplies and Services for Medicine. “We helped the ministry with supplies and professional guidance in order to provide, in the shortest possible time, the best and most professional answer to the patients and the medical staff treating them.”

The containers are slated to leave Ashdod port on November 14 through the Globus shipping company, and should reach their destinations within 30 to 40 days. After the containers arrive, teams will be sent to instruct local residents in setting up the clinics, after which the locals will assume responsibility for running the facilities.

In addition, various NGOs will recruit Israeli doctors to assist the local operators of the clinics.

At the launch event in Ashdod, MASHAV Director Gil Haskel said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also sending medical teams to Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire to advise the local residents in dealing with emergency situations and preventing epidemic outbreaks.

This is in addition to large donations of equipment and medications already sent to Sierra Leone, protective kits to the African Union, and other forms of aid from MASHAV and Israeli NGOs including IsraAid.

“As head of MASHAV, I am proud to stand once again at the forefront of international aid efforts,” said Haskel.

“We are working together with African countries at their request and in accordance with the situation on the ground. Israel has unique expertise in the medical realm, and we willingly share our knowledge with all nations.”

Israel has already contributed millions of shekels’ worth of equipment and expertise to the fight against the Ebola epidemic, including sending aid, and experts, creating apps to help caregivers control Ebola and even developing a sterile tent that can be used to help combat the deadly disease.

To listen to ISRAEL21c’s TLV1 radio show about Israel’s role in finding a cure or vaccine for the virus, click here.