Third CAF medical team deployed to Sierra Leone to counter Ebola epidemic

22 April 2015 (Last Updated April 22nd, 2015 18:30)

The Canadian Government has deployed additional Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel to Kerry Town, Sierra Leone, to help address the Ebola epidemic in the country.

The Canadian Government has deployed additional Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel to Kerry Town, Sierra Leone, to help address the Ebola epidemic in the country.

Soldiers from 1 Canadian Field Hospital, Garrison Petawawa, and other locations across Canada will join the third group of CAF personnel on Operation Sirona, and will relieve the existing CAF military doctors, nurses, medics, and support and command staff at the UK's Kerry Town Treatment Unit.

The Canadian medics are working alongside their British counterparts, providing essential medical care to local and international healthcare workers who have been exposed to the Ebola virus disease.

Canadian Defence Minister Jason Kenney said: "Canada is steadfast in its support to the global effort to contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

"Through the vital work of Canadian Armed Forces healthcare professionals lives are being saved."

"Canada is steadfast in its support to the global effort to contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa."

Canadian Forces Health Services Group commander surgeon general brigadier-general Jean-Robert Bernier said: "I saw first-hand in Kerry Town the intense environment in which they are working, including the physical and psychological stresses they endure, to treat infected patients and help prevent the spread of this deadly contagious virus.

"Their seamless integration with British forces supports a stronger synergistic bi-national response, and strengthens our friendship and medical inter-operability with one of our closest allies."

Led by lieutenant-colonel Colleen Forestier, the new command team has already completed training at the British Army Medical Services Training Centre in Strensall, UK, alongside local military counterparts, and will begin operations following a period of acclimatisation and detailed handover of responsibilities.

Operation Sirona is the military component of the Canadian whole-of-government contribution to fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, particularly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The mission augments the UK's Operation Gritrock at the Kerry Town Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone.