British ship arrives in Sierra Leone to help in the battle against Ebola

Monday 10, November

On 30th October, a British ship docked in Sierra Leone to help tackle the Ebola outbreak in the West African Country. Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Argus docked in Freetown Port Dockside, carrying a range of useful supplies, including food, medical equipment, 32 pick-up trucks and three Royal Navy Merlin helicopters.

Since March 2014, over 5,000 deaths and 10, 000 cases of infection have been reported in West Africa.

RFA Argus left Falmouth, Cornwall on the 17th October and is set to act as an offshore centre for the international aid efforts. As well as supplies and vehicles, the 28,000 tonne vessel transported hundreds of medical and military staff to help keep the country’s Ebola treatment centres running.

However, the ship’s onboard clinic will not be used to treat anyone who has become infected.  The onshore Ebola treatment centres will be used to treat any staff members who have come into direct contact with the virus.

As part of the fight against the disease, the helicopters and vehicles will be used to transport equipment, medicines and medical teams directly to areas that need help the most, giving the operation added efficiency.

At the forefront of international efforts

So far, the UK has given £205 million in funds and is at the forefront of the international efforts to combat the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. According to the Ministry of Defence, approximately 750 military personnel have been deployed from the UK to help combat the epidemic in West Africa.

The arrival of the ship demonstrates the progress Britain is making in the aid operation and reinforces the work that has already been done to prevent the spread of the disease.

Infection control

Ebola spreads by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person or animal, or a recently contaminated object or surface. The RFA Argus mission highlights the need for infection control standards to be kept at a high level. Among the ship’s medical supplies will be a range of infection control products, such as biohazard kits, wipes, gloves, aprons, and face masks.

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