The 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa (WA), particularly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. International efforts are aimed at assisting these countries in containing the outbreak.
In response to a direct request from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the government of Sierra Leone for assistance in containing the outbreak, the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development, supported by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under Operation GRITROCK, is establishing treatment units, care units, and training facilities. The longer-term goal of this operation is to transfer the governance of these facilities to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Government of Sierra Leone while the UK transitions to an assistance, guidance and mentorship role.
Up to 40 Canadian Armed Forces healthcare and support staff will deploy to Sierra Leone in support of the Government of Canada’s whole-of-government response to fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Canadian military doctors, nurses, medics and support staff will augment the UK military medical personnel operating at the UK's Kerry Town Treatment Unit (KTTU) in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone. Prior to deploying to WA, CAF medical personnel will receive the same training as their UK counterparts at the Army Medical Services Training Centre (AMSTC) in Strensall, UK.
The initial deployment into Sierra Leone will commence late December and will be preceded by comprehensive training which will allow CAF personnel to safely and effectively augment United Kingdom military medical personnel operating at the Kerry Town Treatment Unit.
Mission and training
Canadian military doctors, nurses, medics and support staff will work alongside their UK military partners to treat local and international health care workers who have been exposed to the Ebola virus disease. The goal of the UK mission is to fight Ebola by providing local healthcare support and to build a capability that will be handed to NGOs and local healthcare workers to manage and staff.
Beginning on December 8, 2014, CAF personnel will train alongside their British counterparts at the state-of-the-art British Army Medical Services Training Centre in Strensall, UK. Training together will ensure full interoperability prior to deployment.
Training will include working with experts in infectious disease, including Ebola, and with health workers with experience working in Sierra Leone, as well as practical scenarios in a simulated Ebola treatment centre. Training will also encompass cultural awareness and language training.
CAF personnel will be fully trained on the use of personal protective equipment required to keep staff safe and to prevent infection.
Scheduled to be operating in Sierra Leone by December 28, 2014, the initial deployment is expected to last up to six months for command and support staff. The Canadian military health care personnel will be rotated every two months during the deployment.