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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 13 December, 2019
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These "heroes" will man the first Irish-run Ebola treatment centre in West Africa

The centre was built by the UK Government.

Image: London News Pictures

SEVENTEEN MEDICAL STAFF left for Sierra Leone today to man the first Irish-run Ebola treatment centre in the region.

The group, which includes doctors, nurses and paramedics, will arrive in Freetown tomorrow morning and will join up with Goal’s team already on the ground.

They’ll be working at a €15 million, 100-bed treatment unit located in the town of Port Loko, 40okm north of the capital Freetown. The facility was constructed by the UK Government and will be ready to receive its first patients in about two weeks.

Goal are set to manage the facility with the staff who flew out today completing a week of training before they travel to the centre.

In total, 500 staff from Ireland, UK and all around the world will work at the unit over the next nine months.

Goal CEO Barry Andrews met the group at Heathrow Airport before they left for West Africa and described them as “heroes”.

“If we really want to defeat this virus, we desperately need the experience and commitment of doctors and nurses to help us care for the many thousands of sick and dying patients who are not receiving adequate treatment,” he said.

The people I met today are heroes, and I was glad I had the opportunity to tell them so this afternoon. However, we need even more people like this to join the fight. We expect to be dealing with Ebola patients for many, many months to come.

ebola 2 The team at Heathrow as they leave for Freetown. Source: London News Pictures

The Port Loko area where the facility is located is currently experiencing some of the highest numbers of cases of Ebola in West Africa.

Goal already have close to 200 staff in the Sierra Leone implementing aid and development programmes in Freetown and Kenema.

Read: Baby girl survives Ebola ‘against all the odds’ >

Read: Are German motorbikes the key to fighting Ebola? >

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Rónán Duffy

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