OCTOBER 23, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Commander of the Second Medical Brigade of the British Army has disclosed that within two weeks one of the biggest laboratories for use in the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak will be airlifted to Sierra Leone to conduct tests on Ebola patients across the country.
Brigadier Beaton told Concord Times in an exclusive interview that the laboratory has the capacity to conduct three hundred (300) Ebola tests a day, thus strengthening the Ebola response strategy in the country. This facility will be installed in one of the testing centres at Kerry Town, he said.
Brigadier Beaton said they have brought in trained and qualified medical personnel who will work with local medical staff to fight the deadly virus. He said they are providing training facilities for personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), officials of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and students of the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences so that they can in turn train over 3,000 health workers to help in the fight.
“We are pleased to be here and to provide services to the government and people of Sierra Leone,” said Brigadier Beaton. “My brigade caters for all military hospitals overseas and that is the reason we have come to help in the fight against Ebola. We are building six Ebola response units. The laboratory is expected to be here within two weeks so that we can fast track the Ebola fight. The lab will conduct three hundred tests a day and that will be very helpful in our response to patients.”
He added that the brigade is also providing training for 120 personnel who will further train other health workers.
Acting Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone, Prof. Ekundayo Thompson, said the training is an important intervention in the fight against the Ebola virus, and that the university is pleased to be part of the process of organizing it.
“The training of trainers is important as it indicates partnership at the international level in response to a national and sub-regional health crisis with an international dimension. It will demonstrate the importance of training as a key component in international development interventions,” said Prof. Thompson.
“The lessons and result which the training will deliver will contribute to enhancing our healthcare delivery and stand us in good stead to make an effective response in the future.”
Major S.T. Kanu of the Armed Forces Training School of the RSLAF said they are pleased to be part of the training of trainers’ workshop, which he said is geared towards building the capacity of the Sierra Leone military and other health personnel.
He expressed his gratitude to the British Government and the military for their intervention “in this time of difficulties”, adding that the training is a clear demonstration that “we are working collaboratively to address the Ebola menace”.