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British ship not for Ebola treatment

OCTOBER 31, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi

The Royal ARGUS Ship

The Royal ARGUS Ship

Commanding Officer of the Royal ARGUS Ship of the British Navy has disclosed that they will not be treating Ebola patients onboard the facility but rather providing essential services to health officials in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in the country.

Captain David Eagles told Concord Times yesterday at the Freetown Terminal (Queen Elizabeth II Quay) that their mission in Sierra Leone is to support UK efforts in fighting the Ebola outbreak, noting that the ship has small medical facilities for UK medical personal who may be involved in road accidents and other emergencies.

“RFA ARGUS is a 28,081 tone support ship and is unique in naval services. She is designed to act as a primary casualty recovery ship and is host to a 100-bed medical complex,” Captain Eagles said. “The ship has over 40 different medical and surgical specialists and is manned by personnel drawn from the Ministry of Defence Hospital Units and Royal Marine Band Service. However, we will not take Ebola patients onboard the ship.”

He assured that the ship has quite a significant aid onboard including three helicopters to travel to difficult areas that are not easily accessible by road. He said the ship also has 32 pickup vans to facilitate the movement of the personnel, adding that the helicopters will be based in the ship while they move across the country.

Head of UK Ebola Fight in Sierra Leone, Don Brown, said over nine hundred (900) British personnel, including 700 military, are currently in the country to help the people of Sierra Leone stem the spread of the Ebola virus.

He said the ship has three hundred (300) military personnel who will be providing services in various capacities, noting that they are working very closely with the government and other partners in the fight.

“The ship is here to help us contain Ebola. She will be in the country as long as it is needed until we get on top of the Ebola disease,” Brown said.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh, thanked the UK government for their support to the people of Sierra Leone.

He emphasized that the ship is not a treatment centre for Ebola patients but to support health workers to immediately response to the Ebola situation.