NewsWest AfricaSierra Leone holds emergency Ebola drill, test preparedness


Posted on Friday, 18 May 2018 14:23

Sierra Leone holds emergency Ebola drill, test preparedness


Sunday, May 13, 2018, a health care worker wears virus protective gear at a treatment center in Bikoro Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: John Bompengo/AP/SIPASierra Leone's military held a two-day simulation exercise in Freetown on Thursday and Friday (May 17 and 18) to test the armed forces' preparedness in









The medical unit of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) set up what they call a Rapid Deployable Isolation and Treatment Facility at Wilberforce Barracks in the capital.

As part of the exercise, nurses in protective clothing simulated the treatment of incoming Ebola patients using the Zmapp drug.

Containing potential outbreaks

Dr Steven Sibalie, one of the exercise coordinators, said the simulation was not related to the Ebola outbreak in DRC (Demoratic Republic of Congo), although the news there had spread "some anxiety" amongst Sierra Leoneans.

Almost 4,000 people died in Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016 during an Ebola outbreak that spread across four countries and the World health Organisation (WHO) and local authorities came under criticism for not reacting fast enough to contain the disease.

Brigadier General Professor Foday Sahr, the Surgeon General of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Foreces Joint Medical Unit, said he wanted to ensure that doctors and nurses were competent in the use of Zmapp so that potential outbreaks could be contained.

The simulation exercise takes place as the WHO prepares to hold an Emergency Committee meeting on Friday to advise on the international response to the outbreak in DRC, and decide whether it constitutes a "public health emergency of international concern".

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