Ebola outbreak: UK reservists to join Sierra Leone effort

A soldier in camouflage uniform talking to people dressed in protective medical gear Image copyright MOD
Image caption The training was done at the Army Medical Services Training Centre at Strensall Barracks

British military reservists are to join regular troops in Sierra Leone to help tackle the Ebola outbreak.

The 16 part-time service personnel have been training alongside about 100 regular troops at the Army Medical Services Training Centre near York.

The reservists, from all three armed services, trained in a mock-up field hospital in preparation for flying to Sierra Leone on 20 December.

More than 6,000 people have died in the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The UK reservists were joined by Canadian military personnel and Danish health workers for their nine-day training at Strensall Barracks.

They will take over from clinicians attached to 22 Field Hospital, who have been in country since October, manning a 12-bed facility reserved to treat health workers with the Ebola virus.

Image copyright MOD

Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois said UK forces had "already played a leading role supporting the UK's efforts to tackle Ebola".

"During my visit to Sierra Leone last month, I witnessed the impressive contribution the military has provided to the fight against Ebola thus far; by treating infected healthcare workers, providing protective equipment training at the Ebola Training Academy, assisting in the build of six treatment units and providing logistical support," he said.

The number of UK military personnel in Sierra Leone will remain at about 800.

The Ministry of Defence said the UK had built facilities in the country for about 700 beds for Ebola patients.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the countries worst affected by the current outbreak, which was identified as Ebola in March 2014.

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