The government has today (11 June 2015) set out the details of a new medal that will recognise the bravery and hard work of thousands of people who helped to tackle Ebola in West Africa.
The medal is expected to go to over 3,000 people who travelled from the UK to work in high risk areas to stop the spread of the disease.
This is the first time a medal has been created specifically to recognise those who have tackled a humanitarian crisis and is in recognition of the highly dangerous environment that workers were required to enter.
The medal has been designed by John Bergdahl, who has been an engraver for over 40 years and recently designed a new coin set to celebrate the birth of Prince George. Mr Bergdahl’s design was chosen following a competition run by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. It shows a flame on a background depicting the Ebola virus – above this are the words “For Service” and below “Ebola Epidemic West Africa”.
The obverse bears a portrait of Her Majesty The Queen designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.
The medal will be awarded to military and civilian personnel who have been tackling Ebola on behalf of the UK in West Africa such as people from our armed forces, doctors and nurses from the NHS, laboratory specialists and members of the civil service and non-governmental organisations. Eligibility is set out in detail in a command paper published today.
The first awards of the medal will be made as early as this summer and will be ongoing thereafter. The Prime Minister will also host a summer reception to congratulate in person some of the recipients.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:
The Ebola outbreak was one of the most devastating epidemics of our generation but we managed to stop its spread thanks to the hard work of British people who travelled to West Africa.
As a result of their efforts, many lives were saved and the outbreak contained.
This medal is about paying tribute to those people. They put themselves at considerable personal risk and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Notes to editors
All those eligible should receive their medal during the course of this year, other than those who need to self-nominate. Read more information on self-nomination.
About the medal
The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals recommended specific eligibility criteria to Her Majesty The Queen, who graciously approved them.
Eligible personnel, including civil servants, the military, UK Med, Public Health England, Stabilisation Unit, Conflict Humanitarian and Security Department (CHASE) Operations Team, UK nationals who worked for DFID-funded NGOs supporting government efforts who served at least 21 days of continuous service (or 30 days of accumulated service) within the geographical territories of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and their territorial waters, would automatically receive the medal.
The medal will be sent to most people automatically, but a few people who have not gone as part of the UK government effort will need to nominate themselves.
This new medal has been introduced following approval by Her Majesty The Queen and the Honours and Decorations Committee. The medal will be manufactured in the UK by Worcestershire Medal Service and will be awarded to those eligible continuously from the summer.
Read the PM’s written ministerial statement on the Ebola Medal.
About UK government response to Ebola
£427 million has been committed to the effort by UK government. Our contribution has included supporting more than half of all the beds available for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, funded over 100 burial teams, trained 4,000 frontline staff, provided three labs to test one third of all samples collected nationally and delivered over one million PPE suits and 150 vehicles.