How the UK government is responding to Ebola
The government is closely monitoring the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, and is taking action at home and abroad.
Response in Africa
The UK is working with the UN, the World Health Organisation and the wider international community to combat Ebola at the source in the African countries affected.
Britain is playing a leading role, particularly in Sierra Leone and Liberia where it can best help to fight the crisis. The UK has committed a £125 million package of support to help contain, control, treat and ultimately prevent Ebola. This includes:
Direct medical support
Help for medical agencies on the ground – such as the Red Cross and WHO – to provide direct care and expertise, and to train health workers.
Deployment of medical experts
Some 400 NHS staff have already volunteered to travel to west Africa and help those affected by Ebola. Public Health England has deployed 10 experts including epidemiologists to provide expert advice to the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health on managing the outbreak.
Treatment centres and beds
The construction of a treatment facility near Freetown, Sierra Leone, providing 12 beds for frontline health workers and 80 beds for the local population. In total, the UK has committed to delivering 700 treatment beds in the coming months.
The UK will set up a forward command and control logistical hub in Sierra Leone that will provide the backbone of infrastructure, commodities, training and management needed to scale up the response.
Practical items such as food aid, medical kit, uncontaminated blankets and chlorine for hygiene and sanitising.
Support for health services
Financial support to strengthen the country’s own health systems in Sierra Leone and Liberia and to help with government coordination.
Improved public information
Help to increase the awareness and understanding of the disease within local and remote communities, including radio messaging programmes.
Emergency research to understand how the virus spreads, and how it can be halted.
Support to fast-track the human trials of an Ebola vaccine, that could help immunise health workers and others to prevent the virus from spreading further.
International diplomatic efforts
Sierra Leone and the UK are calling on governments and international donors around the world to join up in a concerted effort to contain, control and ultimately defeat the Ebola outbreak.
The UK and Sierra Leonean governments will also hold an international conference in London on 2 October 2014 to discuss how the global community can rally to provide an effective international response.
Response in the UK
Guidance has been issued to front line Border Force staff on how to identify and safely deal with suspected cases of Ebola. It makes clear what steps need to be taken should a passenger arrive at the border unwell.
If a person is identified at the border as being a potential carrier they will be immediately referred by a Border Force officer to a specialist medical care provider and reported to public health authorities.
UK hospitals have a proven record of dealing with imported infectious diseases. We have well developed and well tested NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases, supported by a wide range of experts.
These include experts at the Royal Free Infectious Disease Unit, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Advice for travellers
The government advises against all but essential travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea except for those involved in the direct response to the Ebola outbreak.
Advice for medics
The UK government is seeking medical professionals to join its emergency response in Sierra Leone. See “How you can help” below.
Advice for aid workers
If you’re joining the emergency response, get the latest advice for humanitarian workers.
The UK government is seeking water, sanitation and hygiene experts and logisticians to join its emergency response in Sierra Leone. See “How you can help” below.
How you can help
The UK government are opening an Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone and are seeking staff to help in the emergency response.
If you are a medical professional or have experience in logistics or water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and are interested in joining the fight against Ebola, please sign up:
If you work for the NHS – register for the UK International Emergency Medical Register
If you are a non-NHS medical professional or have experience in logistics or WASH – apply through Save the Children