IATF Headquarters, Dec 21
British and Canadian Military Medics arrive in Sierra Leone to join the fight against Ebola. Yesterday saw 100 military personnel from Britain and Canada join the Department for International Development led operation in Sierra Leone. The medical clinicians, Nurses, Lab technicians and doctors flew into Freetown, Sierra Leone where they will be based for the next 2-6 months. Many of the British personnel, including 15 reservists alongside their Canadian counterparts will head to the UK built Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Centre facility situated on the outskirts of the capital. The treatment staff will spend a period of 60 days working within the patient wards delivering frontline support to the confirmed and suspected patients that have been admitted to the 12 bed facility.Lt Col Gary O’Neil, Canadian Task Force Commander (Op SIRONA) said: “We are excited about coming on a humanitarian mission. We have been training hard and integrating well with the ‘Brits’, and now we are really looking forward to the mission ahead.”
Over the coming month these personnel will work closely with their predecessors to establish themselves and orientate themselves for their task. Handover training days and procedure practice will prepare them for the change over in early January. Building upon the training delivered at Strensall, York, the teams will acclimatize to the 35oC heat and new surroundings whilst handing over from the teams currently working at the treatment facility. Sgt Lance Cekill, said: “It was a relatively short flight from Britain to Freetown and it is great to finally get here. We have already made good friends with our Canadian colleagues and the team is looking forward to starting.”
The UK is leading the international response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone by diagnosing and isolating Ebola cases more quickly, doubling the number of treatment beds, supporting burial teams and researching a vaccine.
Playing our part in halting the disease in West Africa is the most effective way of preventing Ebola infecting people in the UK.
We have already delivered hundreds of treatment and isolation beds, 3 new Ebola testing laboratories and we are working closely with Sierra Leone government to train and equip burial teams toensure safe burial practices.
ut as the disease continues to spread in Sierra Leone, it is clear that even more is needed. That is why we have opened 5 new treatment centers, increasing the number of beds and have opened 3 testing laboratories.
UK Response The UK has committed £232.5 million to the response in Sierra Leone. This includes:
Supporting over 880 treatment and isolation beds. This includes building 6 Ebola treatment centres in Kerry Town, Port Loko, Hastings, Makeni, Goderich and Moyamba.
Working with Public Health England, the Government of Sierra Leone and WHO to strengthen the overall laboratory system. This includes building, running and staffing three new labs in Sierra Leone, doubling the number of tests that can be carried out every day;