President Obama calls Ebola ‘national security priority’

theGRIO REPORT - TFriday, President Obama addressed the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, defining it as a “national security priority."...

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Friday, President Obama addressed the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, defining it as a “national security priority.”

Talking at a Global Health Security Agenda Summit at the White House, Obama said it is “unacceptable” that the world is not prepared for an outbreak like Ebola.

He continued by saying countries all over the world should tackle disease outbreaks and other biological dangers “as the security threats that they are” and not as the humanitarian and economic concerns they are being considered at this point.

He described the international response to such a crisis as being too little and too late. The delayed efforts seem to have only allowed the disease to spread and cause more deaths, the president said.

Ebola has claimed the lives of nearly 3,100 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. If the disease is not contained as soon as possible, it is expected for the death toll to reach the hundreds of thousands.

“It is our moral obligation and it is in our national self-interest” to help the affected countries, Obama said.

The president’s speech lasted around 20 minutes, and the audience was comprised of representatives from more than 48 countries. He mostly repeated his past 10 days discourse, mentioning USA will send 3,000 troops to help stop Ebola from spreading.

Thursday at the UN, he highlighted that U.S. would definitely need international support.

Obama mentioned Japan has promised to deliver 500,000 items of protective equipment for those who treat patients in the affected regions. After that, he talked about a “challenge to inventors and entrepreneurs and businesses of the world” to manufacture improved protective equipment for health workers who are being sent to outbreak locations.

“If you design them, we will make them. We will pay for them. And our goal is to get them to the field in a matter of months,” Obama declared.

The Global Health Security Agenda’s purpose is to protect nations around the world from infectious diseases. The program launched in February, well before Ebola did what it did in West Africa. The White House discussions held on Friday were part of this year’s fourth meeting on the Agenda. Those who participated were ministers and senior officials from international organizations and countries of each continent.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice were also present at the meeting. Their presence highlighted the tremendous proportions this health emergency has reached. “Today the danger is Ebola,” said Rice.