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Russia defence ministry to airlift field hospital to Ebola-hit Guinea

Russia's Defence Ministry will send a field hospital and medicines to Guinea, one of the hardest Ebola-hit nations in West Africa, the ministry's spokesman told reporters on Saturday.

Gen Maj Igor Konashenkov said that in line with the Russian president's instruction, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered the ministry's medical department and the Air Force's transport aviation command "to promptly airlift to Guinea a field hospital specially equipped for fighting deadliest diseases along with a consignment of medicines."

"The hospital will be delivered to Guinea to help its government treat Ebola-infected patients and carry out preventive measures among the local population," the general said.

Konashenkov said that three Antonov An-124 Ruslan super heavy-duty airlifters would haul to Guinea the 150-tonne cargo. At present medical equipment and medicines are being loaded onto the planes.

Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu to dispatch in the near future a Russian mobile hospital specially equipped for fighting deadliest diseases, as a response to Guinea's plea, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday.

Russia is acting so within the format of international efforts aimed at fighting the Ebola virus outbreak, Peskov said adding that the hospital would be given to Guinea as a gift.

Besides, Putin has instructed Shoigu to get ready the Russian planes equipped with special capsules for transporting sick and infected patients.

On Friday, Guinea's government called on Russia to provide a mobile hospital set up for treating infectious diseases.

The Ebola virus can be transmitted from person to person through a direct contact (through injured skin or mucous membranes) or with objects contaminated with the virus. The Ebola virus disease, previously known as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe illness in humans, often fatal, according to the WHO.

Death toll of the Ebola virus outbreak stands at 5,177 and 14,413 people are infected, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report released on Friday.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the the hardest hit by the deadly virus raging in West Africa.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 15Nov14]

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