Second cohort of NHS volunteers gear up to fight Ebola in West Africa

ebola-sierra-leone-2A further 25 NHS staff from across the UK are deploying to Sierra Leone to join Britain’s fight against Ebola, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

Following 5 days of intensive training near Worcester the group will travel to the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown on Saturday morning. Their rigorous pre-deployment training, run by RedR UK, has included working in a replica treatment centre, learning about the different stages of assessment and treatment of the disease and, crucially, how to protect themselves using personal protective equipment.

After arriving in Sierra Leone they will complete further in-country training and acclimatisation, which will include dry-runs in the British-built Ebola treatment centres where they will be working.

Members of the group, which includes GPs, nurses and clinicians, will then begin work setting up procedures and diagnosing and treating people who have contracted the deadly virus.

Justine Greening said:

The British fight against Ebola in West Africa is already paying dividends. More than 600 treatment and safe isolation beds are now operational, thousands of healthcare workers have been trained, and the first of 3 new labs is up and running, significantly boosting the capacity of the country to test blood and swab samples.

None of this would have been possible without the grit and determination of the military personnel, scientists, healthcare and aid workers from across the UK who have travelled to Sierra Leone to defeat this terrible disease.

But to beat Ebola we must keep up the fight. That is why we are continuing to deploy teams of experienced and dedicated NHS doctors and nurses, who will provide essential care and treatment for the sick. These NHS heroes will play a vital role in our efforts to take this disease on at source.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

I want to thank the brave NHS volunteers who are heading to Sierra Leone tomorrow to help in the fight against Ebola. They embody the values at the heart of our health service, and their expertise and dedication is second to none.

Professor Tony Redmond, Head of UK-Med said:

The actions of these selfless volunteers in going and the actions of their colleagues and managers to release them and cover for their duties is testimony if ever there was to the altruism that lies at the core of the NHS. I am very proud of them all”.

Hannah McReynolds, Staff Nurse, Leicester who will be travelling to Sierra Leone this weekend said:

As soon as I heard NHS staff were volunteering I didn’t hesitate to apply. I feel lucky to have been born into a society which has provided me with free education and healthcare. I feel I should give back. I feel privileged to have been selected to be part of this team. The support and team work is already evident. This is a global issue and I am proud of my colleagues who have volunteered and want to encourage others to do so.

The NHS volunteers departing tomorrow are the second group to be deployed by the UK government and will join an initial cohort of more than 30 NHS staff who arrived in Sierra Leone on Sunday 23 November.

These deployments are coordinated by UK-Med, which manages the provision of NHS health workers to international crises, and funded by DFID. They will work in treatment centres built by British Army Royal Engineers and funded by the Department for International Development and deployed across Sierra Leone according to staffing needs.

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