Press Release: British High Commission refutes ‘incorrect’ UK newspaper article


OCTOBER 21, 2014

The Mail on Sunday (19 Oct 14) published an article containing incorrect information relating to the UK military effort in Sierra Leone and we would like to take this opportunity to correct the position.

The current Ebola crisis in West Africa cannot be managed by the national authorities and non-government organisations alone. The UK and other international partners are responding to requests for assistance and more than 300 UK military personnel have already arrived in Sierra Leone to oversee the construction of a medical facility and assist with the UK’s response.

In total, 750 UK military personnel will be deployed to help with the establishment of Ebola Treatment Centres and an Ebola Training Academy and will definitely not be setting up security operations, including road blocks, across Sierra Leone as suggested by the article. The UK Military effort remains as:

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Argus and Merlin helicopters together with a number of highly- skilled personnel who will support the construction of the Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Centre and other facilities, and those who will provide logistics and planning support.

More than UK 200 military personnel will be deployed to run the World Health Organisation-led Ebola training facility that will assist in the training of healthcare workers, logisticians and hygiene specialists who are needed to staff treatment centres.

However, what is important is the work that is already being carried out by the Government and good people of Sierra Leone.

Together with the World Health Organisation, they are training more than 120 health workers a week, and piloting a new community approach to Ebola care to reduce, and hopefully stop, the transmission rate. They are also building and providing laboratory services, and supporting an information campaign in-country.

If we act now, together we can contain and defeat this disease. If 70 per cent of infected patients are isolated quickly after they contract the disease, then the spread of the disease can be contained.