News story

CMO Dame Sally Davies talks about the UK response to Ebola in West Africa

The Chief Medical Officer talks about Britain's role in the international response to Ebola.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


CMO Dame Sally Davies and Britain’s response to Ebola in West Africa

In the video the CMO describes what Britain is doing internationally to try and stop the spread of Ebola:

  • The plight of families in West Africa affected by the Ebola virus makes for devastating reading.
  • Barely a day goes by when we don’t see appalling images on the news or read about terrible suffering in the papers.
  • I want the public to know that the UK is leading the way internationally to make sure the outbreak is contained.
  • Experts right across government are working around the clock – not only to make sure we are prepared here in the UK but also to make sure we are doing all we can to lend support in West Africa
  • The UK is working with the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, and the wider international community to combat Ebola at the source in the African countries affected.
  • Britain is playing a leading role, particularly in Sierra Leone.
  • Almost 1,000 NHS staff have volunteered to travel to West Africa and help those affected by Ebola.
  • I have been overwhelmed by the response and was fortunate recently to meet British nurse Will Pooley who was infected with the virus earlier in the year.
  • Will has now gone back to Sierra Leone to continue his work – his contribution, like that of everybody who has volunteered, is vital.

International commitments

  • A treatment facility in Kerry Town, near Freetown, Sierra Leone has now been opened.
  • In total, the UK has committed to delivering 700 treatment beds in the coming months, helping up to nearly 8,800 patients over a 6-month period.
  • It is being operated by Save the Children alongside a 12-bed centre staffed by British Army medics for health care workers and international staff responding to the crisis and a testing laboratory run by UK scientists.
  • The UK is conducting emergency research to understand how Ebola spreads and how to stop it. We are also providing support to fast-track the human trials of an Ebola vaccine that could immunise health workers and others to prevent the virus spreading further.
  • Lots of excellent work is going on to contain the virus – but I want to reassure the UK public that if we do get a case here – which is likely - the risk of the catching Ebola is very low.
Published 21 November 2014