International Development Secretary Justine Greening will depart from RAF Brize Norton today [Tuesday 21 October] for Sierra Leone with around a hundred soldiers from the Royal Army Medical Corps as part of the UK’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Ms Greening is travelling to Sierra Leone to see how Britain’s £125 million assistance package is helping the country to tackle Ebola. She will visit the site of a 92 bed Ebola treatment facility in Kerry Town which is in the final stages of being constructed by British humanitarian and military experts, with the assistance of local contractors, as well as the DFID-funded Ebola Training Academy for healthcare workers.
The medics deploying today are Catterick-based 35 Squadron, 5 Armoured Medical Regiment, Royal Army Medical Corps. They will staff the Ebola Training Academy alongside around 90 personnel from 22 Field Hospital who flew out last week.
Justine Greening said:
Halting the disease in West Africa is the most effective way of preventing Ebola infecting people here in the UK. That is why we are providing 700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone, sending vital supplies such as chlorine and protective clothing, and training hundreds of health workers.
I look forward to seeing for myself how British Army medics and engineers, as well as our humanitarian and health workers, are spearheading the UK’s efforts to contain and ultimately defeat Ebola.
The £125 million committed to date by the UK in Sierra Leone includes support for 700 treatment beds to help up to 8,800 patients over 6 months, as well as shoring up the country’s stretched public health services to help contain the disease.
Notes to editors
Justine Greening is due to depart from RAF Brize Norton on the morning of Tuesday 21 October alongside members of 35 Squadron, 5 Armoured Medical Regiment, Royal Army Medical Corps.
750 military personnel will be deployed to assist the UK’s mission. This includes:
- RFA Argus and three Merlin helicopters which will provide crucial transport to medical teams and aid experts, this will involve around 250 personnel; and
- over 200 military staff who will be deployed to run and staff a World Health Organisation-led Ebola training facility for healthcare workers, logisticians and hygiene specialists.
On 2 October the UK’s Defeating Ebola Conference brought together more than 20 governments, a dozen charities and NGOs, the UN, World Bank, health experts and the private sector to pledge funds, equipment and health workers.