One week after Maclean’s reported that Canada was auctioning off tens of thousands of dollars worth of protective medical equipment for pennies, while health care workers combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa covered their faces with torn scraps of old uniforms, Canada has announced it will now offer surplus protective equipment to the World Health Organization to aid in its fight against the epidemic.
Late last night, Health Minister Rona Ambrose issued a statement to say Canada would make available $2.5 million in equipment such as masks, gloves, face shields and gowns to the World Health Organization.
As recently as August, Canada was privately selling similar items on the open market for a fraction of what they were worth. At least one company bought the discounted material, then tried to sell it to an aid organization working in West Africa at a massive profit.
Asked why Canada was offloading the surplus protective gear, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada said the WHO had not identified a need for it. Ebola has been ravaging West Africa for months. It has killed more than 2,000 and many of the victims are health care workers.