Canadian Armed Forces health services personnel will deploy to Sierra Leone alongside British Forces to help fight Ebola outbreak.
In support of the Government of Canada’s response to fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, approximately 40 Canadian Armed Forces health care and support staff departed for the United Kingdom on December 6. They will undertake specialized training prior to deploying to Sierra Leone later this month.
“I am proud our Canadian Armed Force professionals and support staff members will meaningfully contribute to this important international mission,” said Defence Minister Rob Nicholson.
Canadian military doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants, medics and support staff will train at the state-of-the-art British Army Medical Services Training Centre in Strensall, United Kingdom. After training alongside their British military counterparts to ensure full inter-operability, CAF personnel will deploy directly to Sierra Leone.
Training prior to deployment will include lectures by experts in infectious disease, including Ebola, and by health workers with experience working in Sierra Leone and will include practical scenarios in a simulated Ebola treatment centre. CAF personnel will be fully trained on the use of personal protective equipment required to keep staff safe and to prevent cross infection. Training will also encompass cultural awareness and language training.
Scheduled to be operating in Sierra Leone later this month, the deployment is expected to last up to six months, with Canadian military health care personnel being rotated every two months during the deployment.
“Deploying Canadian Armed Forces medical experts to West Africa is further demonstration of Canada’s commitment to support the global effort to contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa,” said Minister Nicholson.
The CAF mission is called Operation SIRONA, and in augmenting the UK’s Operation GRITROCK, will primarily focus on medical care to local and international health care workers who are patients of the UK Kerry Town Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone.
The Government of Canada is taking a comprehensive approach to fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This includes financial, technical and in-kind contributions provided by Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. This is an effort to help stop the outbreak by treating the infected, meeting the increasing humanitarian needs arising from the crisis, and reducing associated threats to health and security.
To date, Canada has committed financial support for health, humanitarian and security interventions. These funds will help combat the Ebola virus disease outbreak and address the broader humanitarian and security implications of the crisis. Efforts are being coordinated with the United Nations Missions for Emergency Ebola Response and through experienced partners within the United Nations system and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
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