“Healthcare workers are at the frontlines of this outbreak, and our number one priority is to keep our community safe and healthy,” said Weingarten. “That’s why our nurses and health professionals came together to issue a clear three-point plan to respond to and contain the Ebola virus, so that what happened in Texas doesn’t happen anywhere else.”
The plan calls for healthcare facilities to have:
- Infection-control protocols and a worker-preparedness plans;
- Dedicated teams made up of specially trained volunteers that include doctors, nurses, lab and x-ray techs, and housekeeping staff; and
- Involvement of frontline providers in preparedness planning.
Weingarten also said the current EVD outbreak shows the need for greater investment in the U.S. public health infrastructure, which has eroded significantly in recent years.
“This should be a wake up call to make funding the healthcare system a priority,” she said. AFT today sent a letter to the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee calling for increased funding for public health emergencies.
to read the letter to the committee’s chair and ranking member.
“With the right protocols, preparedness, coordination and equipment, as well as a voice in the process, we can keep our communities safe and healthy,” said Weingarten. “We must also stop playing politics with funding. We must invest in public health so that healthcare workers and communities have the infrastructure—that is, the education, coordination, supports, communication, tools, equipment and protocols—they need.”
In addition, Candice Owley, chair of the AFT’s healthcare division and an AFT vice president, noted that money and other assistance should be sent to West Africa as well.
“If we are going to solve the crisis at home, we must also put our attention on Africa,” said Owley. “We need to ensure that adequate funding is sent to Africa to help with the outbreak.”
The AFT executive council on October 15 passed a resolution that addresses the union’s global response to the EVD crisis.
Information and material on dealing with EVD, such as a fact sheet, information on preparedness in hospitals and schools, and other resources, are at AFT’s public website. Affiliated union members and staff also have access to additional resources at AFT’s LeaderNet website.
for access to additional Ebola readiness resources for members and staff.