Russia's Defense Ministry has begun airlifting equipment to build a field hospital to Ebola-stricken Guinea in response to the country's plea for help with battling the deadly epidemic, Interfax reported Sunday.
"The first two military transportation aircraft [Russia's Antonov An-124] carrying equipment to build a field hospital and medical supplies have left Sochi for the Conakry Airport," Major General Igor Konashenkov said, Interfax reported. "This field hospital will allow for the placement and treatment of 200 people infected by highly dangerous viral diseases, but will also ensure that they can live autonomously during their time in quarantine."
The initiative — which involves the delivery of more than 150 tons of cargo by three Russian military aircrafts — follows President Vladimir Putin's order to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to assist Guinea in combatting the deadly disease.
Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said Saturday that the field hospital would be donated to Guinea free of charge, TASS reported.
Last week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia would contribute $20 million to the global fight against the disease. In October, the Russian Health Ministry announced that the country was hoping to produce three Ebola vaccines within six months' time.
The World Health Organization reported Friday that 1,166 people had died from the Ebola virus in the West African country of Guinea since the outbreak of the epidemic. Ebola has claimed more than 5,000 lives since the outbreak began, according to the same statistics.