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Personnel from Hampshire’s 22 Field Hospital will provide a key component in the UK’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
They will join the 40 who are already in the country establishing a 92-bed treatment facility. 12 of these beds will be set aside for the specific treatment of healthcare workers and will be operated solely by the Britain’s military medics.
Among the 91 deploying were general nurses, medical technicians, specialist nurses, doctors, infectious disease consultants as well as drivers, chefs, administrators and logistical staff.
This assortment of trades and professions is required to deliver the necessary means by which to take on the deadly disease.
The troops are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone around lunchtime today, 16 October, where they will operate the 12-bed healthcare workers’ treatment facility located in Kerry Town, about 50 kilometres from the capital, Freetown.
The UK’s contribution to the fight against Ebola is being coordinated by the Department for International Development.
The Ministry of Defence’s total contribution will amount to 750 personnel. The UK’s treatment centres will provide direct medical care for up to 8,800 Ebola patients over 6 months.
Speaking of her troops’ high level of morale and keenness to get on with the job, 22 Field Hospital’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt explained:
This unit has been the ‘Vanguard’ medical regiment for the past 20 months which means we are on high readiness to deploy at short notice to anywhere in the world – although this is a bit different and provides us with a challenge we are perfectly suited to this kind of task.
I firmly believe we can make a significant difference and it will be professionally rewarding for those taking part.
Medical specialists from both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force and highly and specifically skilled staff from the Ministry of Defence Hospital Units have been brought in to 22 Field Hospital for the task.
The Commanding Officer summed up what she believes will be the key achievement for her troops in Sierra Leone:
We need to provide sufficient reassurance to healthcare workers that will encourage them to come and help defeat this disease.