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Posted at: Jan 20, 2015, 1:12 PM; last updated: Jan 20, 2015, 1:12 PM (IST)

India-born Ebola fighter to watch Obama speech

Washington, January 20

An Indian-born doctor fighting Ebola in Africa will be among the guests watching President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday symbolising some of the points he would be making.

In an address to a joint session of Congress Obama will lay out an agenda for his seventh year in office in the face of a hostile Republican opposition, which now controls both the House and the Senate.

India-born Pranav Shetty, Global Emergency Health Coordinator for International Medical Corps, will join the First Lady in her box as a representative of the thousands of health care workers who were collectively named TIME's person of the year in 2014.

The White House described the Medical Corps as a critical partner in the US-supported effort to bring the Ebola epidemic under control in West Africa.

Shetty's experience in public health emergencies is invaluable, having responded to crises in Haiti, Libya, South Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, and the Philippines, it said.

In August 2014, Shetty deployed to Liberia to establish and oversee two Ebola treatment units, teams of rapid responders that deploy to Ebola hot spots across the country, and a training centre for local and international health care workers now working on the frontlines of the Ebola response effort.

Shetty arrived back in the US in late December and will return to West Africa later this week to help establish International Medical Corps' first Ebola treatment centre in Guinea.

Shetty is a US-trained emergency medicine physician with a Masters of Public Health and has worked for International Medical Corps since 2011.

Based in Washington, DC, he serves as the initial health technical lead for International Medical Corps' major emergency response operations worldwide.

Other guests seated in First Lady's Box with Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the President will include Scott Kelly, an astronaut set to go on a year-long mission to the International Space Station in spring.

Also invited are Alan P. Gross, the American released last month after five years of captivity in Cuba, a wounded Afghanistan war veteran and a young immigrant allowed to stay in the country under an Obama order. IANS


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