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Medical team to train Sierra Leone Army

01 February 2017

A British military medical team is heading out to Sierra Leone next month to continue work with the Sierra Leone Armed Forces.

The British short term training team will mentor and train their counterparts. In a practical field exercise they will help to deploy a 36-bed tented hospital facility known as the Rapidly Deployable Isolation and Treatment Facility (RDITF). This facility is already on standby to deal with any future Ebola Cases. During the last deployment of the UK Team this treatment facility was praised by the World Health Organisation and the Centre of Disease Control as “one of the best Ebola facilities in Sierra Leone”.

Thirteen military medics, from a variety of clinical backgrounds, will share their medical experience and knowledge with the joint Republic of Sierra Leone staff made up from the Armed Forces and Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Providing mentoring and refresher training, the Short Term Training Team will leave next month to work with the RDITF during a field exercise close Freetown for up to three weeks.

To make sure the British medics offer the latest advice and are up-to-date in the procedures needed to fight the deadly disease, the military team has been training at the Army Medical Services Training Centre at Towthorpe, York.

“The team will mentor and conduct refresher training with the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces in preparation for the assurance of the RDITF by the World Health Organisation,” said Major Darelle Marston, the team leader.

“This will be a confirmatory exercise that the RDITF is still meeting the standards required in order to contain an infection outbreak.”

This will be the fourth visit by a Short Term Training Team since the start of the initiative in 2015.

Guiding some of the donning and doffing of the specialist protective clothing during the training is Sergeant Lisa Watson from Wigan, a registered nurse at the Defence Medical Group South in Portsmouth.

“I am looking forward to going out to Sierra Leone,” said Lisa.

“I was trained to go out during the Ebola outbreak but was stood down.

“I think it is good to be able to assist the RDITF in being prepared and share our knowledge and experience from a professional perspective.”

Practicing all the stringent infection control procedures are two new team members, Army Corporal Kerry Mundell from Basildon and RAF Corporal Emily Carr from Southport. Both are nurses, Kerry (26) at the DMG South in Portsmouth and Emily (25) at the DMG North in Catterick.

“It is a great opportunity. I am looking forward to going and helping them as they progress,” said Emily who qualified as a nurse eighteen months ago.

The last Ebola case in Sierra Leone recorded was in January last year, leading to the deployment of the RDITF to ensure it was ready if the outbreak began to spread.

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