|Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced Canada will send protective equipment in support of the WHO's fight to contain west Africa's Ebola outbreak. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)|
Canada is donating $2.5 million worth of the specialized medical gear used to protect health-care workers who are treating Ebola patients in West Africa, the federal government announced late Monday.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the equipment — known as personal protective equipment or PPE — will be given to the World Health Organization to help with the Ebola response.
"We will continue to explore ways for Canada to make a meaningful contribution to the global response," Ambrose said in a news release.
The announcement of additional Canadian assistance comes on the eve of a major address on the Ebola outbreak by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Obama is to outline additional U.S. assistance to the outbreak response on Tuesday when he travels to the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control in Atlanta.
The Canadian donation is being made from surplus stock current available through the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Emergency Strategic Stockpile and Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.
Canada has offered a range of supplies, but said that the final donation will be based on what the WHO needs.
It has offered 500,000 N95 respirators (like surgical masks, but more protective), 1.5 million sets of examination gloves, 2.1 million face shields, 1.25 million isolation gowns, 3,500 sets of surgical gloves and 50 hooded coverall suites.
"Preventing further transmission of the Ebola virus is essential to controlling the current outbreak and the proper use of personal protective equipment is a key component," Dr. Gregory Taylor, deputy chief public health officer, said in an emailed statement.
"By providing these much-needed supplies, the Government of Canada is enabling health-care workers from the affected region and other WHO response workers to continue to quickly detect and manage this outbreak."