Project Profile: Australia’s Response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone

Background

On 5 November 2014, the Prime Minister announced that Australia would increase its contribution to the global fight against Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). This response involved managing an Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Sierra Leone. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) chose Aspen Medical to manage the ETC.

Ebola Response Project

Within 24 hours of the announcement Aspen Medical set up a Project Office in Canberra and launched a volunteer applications webpage. Within 72 hours an advance party was deployed to commence liaison with key stakeholders.

The ETC became operational on schedule on December 14, 2014. This coincided with the opening of a number of other ETCs across Sierra Leone.  This surge in ETCs supported the containment and reduction of the epidemic.

Australia made a difference

The first Ebola survivor, 11 year old Ms Aminata Bangura, left the ETC on 30 December 2014. By the time the ETC closed, 36 Ebola survivors had been discharged.

In total, the ETC admitted 216 patients. We are particularly proud of the fact that within a team of 73 Australian and NZ Health Professionals (HPs) and support team plus in excess of 250 locals, we recorded zero infections. Ebola has become known as the ‘Carer’s Disease’ due to the high rate of infection in health professionals.

Those who volunteered to be a part of the Ebola Response team showed extraordinary levels of compassion, courage, dedication and selflessness.

Aspen Medical related deployments in West Africa

Whilst the Australian Government response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone concluded on 30 April 2015, Aspen Medical remains a key regional player in ensuring that the worst ever outbreak of EVD remains defeated.

Aspen Medical has operated a private healthcare clinic in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, since March 2014.  This is used extensively by the diplomatic and expatriate communities. Our clinic helped relieve the pressure on the Monrovian public health system as the outbreak began to take hold.  Our clinic also has an Aero-Medical Evacuation (AME) capability.

Additionally, Aspen Medical was contracted by USAID to manage four Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Liberia. This contract has been extended until October 2015 to ensure that Liberia remains Ebola-free.

Blog provided by:

Aspen Medical

For more information on the project, please contact Andrew Parnell [email protected]