Army spent €40m to treat zero Ebola victims

The German army spent €39 million on a five-month mission in west Africa to help fight the Ebola epidemic. The number of victims it actually treated? Zero.

Army spent €40m to treat zero Ebola victims
A doctor in Liberia during the Ebola crisis. File photo: DPA

Although the Bundeswehr (German army) said they treated people with Ebola-like symptoms, they also acknowledged that analyses of blood tests revealed that “no patients tested positive for Ebola”, a spokesperson for the Bundeswehr told Bild newspaper.

This was a rather embarrassing admission, given the cost of the mission. And it seems it is one the German Defence Ministry has tried to hide.

Green Party MP Omid Nouripour had asked twice about the number of Ebola cases the army treated – and twice they denied having specific numbers.

The fight against Ebola was a “unique cooperative effort between the German military and the German Red Cross” read one answer. But “a differentiation of who treated whom was not undertaken,” it continued.

“It is pretty bizarre that the ministry falsely told the parliament on more than one occasion that it didn't have the numbers,“ Nouripour told Bild. “What do they want to hide?“

The army's mission in Liberia in cooperation with the Red Cross began in November 2014 and ended at the beginning of March 2015. Fundamental to this operation was the air transport provided by the military, which brought emergency supplies to the west African country.

Liberia was classified as Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation in March this year.

Almost 11,300 people have died in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since 2013 in the most serious Ebola outbreak ever to hit Africa.

Liberia, where almost 5,000 people died, was worst hit by the epidemic.

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