The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has deployed a new military contingent to Freetown, Sierra Leone, as part of its efforts to tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The contingent includes 150 army personnel, mostly medics from 35 Squadron, 5 Medical Regiment of the Royal Army Medical Corps, and soldiers from the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment and 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The soldiers will run the Ebola Training Academy in Sierra Leone and teach local health care workers and hygienists how to protect themselves from infection and how to prevent it in others.
UK Commanding Force Troops Command general officer major general Tim Radford said: "This is the third group of soldiers who have deployed to Sierra Leone in support of the DfID (Department for International Development) operation to help tackle the crisis.
"They will join more than 300 soldiers who arrived over a month ago and have been instrumental in setting up the infrastructure and treatment facilities across the west of the country.
"These troops will form part of the group undertaking vital work to train Sierra Leonians to conduct community care in their own neighbourhoods in up to 1,000 centres across the whole country."
Earlier this month, the UK Government committed to deploy more than 750 soldiers to help with the establishment of the Kerry Town Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone and a World Health Organization-led Ebola training facility.
In addition, the MoD is also deploying three Royal Navy Merlin helicopters and aircrew and engineers, as well as the aviation support ship RFA Argus, which is being sent to operate as a forward base for the helicopters.
Carrying personnel from all three services, RFA Argus set sail to Sierra Leone last week.
The UK’s treatment centres are expected to provide direct medical care for up to 8,800 Ebola patients in the next six months.
Image: UK Commanding Force Troops Command general officer major general Tim Radford speaking to soldiers before their flight to Sierra Leone. Photo: courtesy of Corporal Richard Cave RLC, Crown copyright.