UK health volunteers head to S Leone to tackle Ebola

2014-11-23 08:18
File: AP

File: AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - A first group of volunteers from Britain's state National Health Service left for Sierra Leone on Saturday to join the Ebola epidemic fight-back.

More than 30 NHS workers flew out of London Heathrow Airport and were due to arrive in the capital Freetown on Sunday for a week of training before moving to British-built treatment centres around the west African country.

The group includes doctors, nurses, clinicians, psychiatrists and emergency medicine consultants.

"I found myself less and less able to hear about the evolving situation in west Africa and the increasing loss of life and do nothing. I felt I just had to go," said Doctor Hannah Ryan, 29, from the intensive care unit at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, northwest England.

Doctor James Lavers, 37, an intensive care registrar from Bangor in northwest Wales, said: "This could be the biggest medical disaster of my lifetime, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the region. To prevent this from happening and save vast numbers of lives, large-scale intervention has to happen now."

The volunteers have gone through nine days of intensive training at a specialist Ministry of Defence unit in northern England, which has a replica treatment centre.

Biggest responses

More than 1 000 NHS workers have put their names forward and more teams of British volunteers are due to go out to Sierra Leone over the coming weeks.

More than 5 000 people have died in the west African Ebola outbreak and more than 15 000 have been infected.

Recent data has shown a decline in cases in Liberia, the worst-hit country, and Guinea, but last week, 533 new cases were reported in Sierra Leone - the highest weekly tally since the epidemic began in that country.

"Our fight against Ebola in west Africa is one of Britain's biggest responses to a disease outbreak," said International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

"But to beat Ebola we desperately need the experience and dedication of skilled doctors and nurses to care for the thousands of sick and dying patients who are not receiving the treatment they need."

One UK-built treatment centre is already open in the former British colony of Sierra Leone, with a further five to open in the coming weeks, with a total of 700 beds between them.

Cuba, Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark have committed to providing health workers to staff the British treatment centres alongside the NHS volunteers.

Read more on:    sierra leone  |  health  |  west africa  |  ebola

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.