GOAL sends 17 Irish medical staff to Ebola fight
A group of 17 Irish medical staff have flew to Sierra Leone to treat people with Ebola and help stem the epidemic ravaging west Africa.
The group, made up of doctors, nurses and paramedics, left this afternoon to join 200 other GOAL volunteers at the first Irish-run Ebola treatment centre in the region.
The €15 million, 100-bed treatment unit is located in the town of Port Loko which is experiencing some of the highest numbers of cases of Ebola.
Following their arrival, the group will undergo a week of training.
They will then join the rest of the GOAL team in Port Loko and begin work setting up procedures and diagnosing and treating people who have contracted the deadly disease.
GOAL CEO, Barry Andrews, thanked the group this afternoon at Heathrow airport and said they are relying on the expertise of skilled medical staff to turn the tide against Ebola.
“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,” he added.
The Port Loko facility was constructed by the UK Government and will be managed by GOAL.
It is the second of six UK government-built treatment centres to open in Sierra Leone and will receive its first patients in the first week of December.