Today Sierra Leone reached 42 days since the last confirmed Ebola patient was discharged from hospital, meaning that Sierra Leone has now officially been declared free of Ebola. The UK government played a leading role in galvanising the international response against the disease. Working closely with President Koroma and the Government of Sierra Leone, the UK deployed over 1500 British military personnel, over 150 NHS volunteers and over 100 Public Health England staff as well diplomatic and humanitarian staff in response to the crisis.
Commenting on the news, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
Defeating Ebola has been a long and difficult journey and this achievement belongs first and foremost to the people of Sierra Leone who have demonstrated incredible resilience, bravery and determination. In the face of lives lost and huge sacrifices, we should remember the 221 Sierra Leonean healthcare workers who lost their lives during this epidemic.
This has also been a story of huge personal courage demonstrated by the British healthcare professionals, military and humanitarian workers who demonstrated their ultimate compassion to travel to the Ebola affected area to help tackle the disease head on.
I am proud of the role the UK government played in galvanising a coalition of nations who led the international response against this disease, saving thousands of lives.
Looking ahead, there is still a long way to go. We know that Ebola may re-emerge and so complacency must be avoided. The UK will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Sierra Leone in their effort to build the level of resilience needed to deal with future outbreaks and to deliver their plans for the post-Ebola recovery.