On January 1, the World Health Organization will be reinstated as the lead element in training health care workers in how to handle Ebola patients, taking over for a team led by Fort Campbell troops.
Since arriving in late October, Defense Department teams have trained some 1,500 doctors, nurses and even clean-up crews from Liberia and around the world.
Col. Laura Favand from the 86th Combat Support Hospital at Fort Campbell is the chief of training and says groups on the ground were already doing a good job of improving hygiene and changing burial practices.
“However, they didn’t have the personnel to train everybody that needed the training, and that’s where we came in,” she said in a DoD video.
Favand’s teams taught frontline health care workers how to get in and out of protective suits, masks and gloves. They even used Ebola survivors as mock patients.
Of the 2,900 troops on the ground, 450 will begin the journey to their home bases this week. According to a 101st Airborne Division spokesman, 140 of them will return to Fort Campbell. But first, all troops will undergo what’s being described as “21 days of controlled monitoring” at one of five facilities at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Joint Base Lewis-McChord or Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
“When troops do return to their home stations, we want our families and communities to be confident they are healthy,” Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hoskins said in an email.
As for the rest of the troops on the ground in Liberia, U.S. Africa Command plans to make a final decision by mid-January on whether soldiers should respond to Ebola outbreaks in neighboring countries. If not, troops will continue returning in February.