Oxfam welcomes deployment of Australian health workers to Sierra Leone Ebola response

Africa, Emergencies, General, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 28 Nov 2014

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke today welcomed news of the imminent deployment of Australian health workers by medical company Aspen Medical to Sierra Leone to assist with the treatment of Ebola patients.

The Australian Government announced up to $20 million in funding for Aspen Medical to run a 100-bed Ebola treatment clinic in Sierra Leone in early November.

Dr Szoke said that with the number of cases in the country since the start of the outbreak now numbering more than 6500, with more than 1300 fatalities, the situation was desperate.

“The news of the imminent deployment of Australian health workers is a welcome update, particularly given the UN’s announcement that it is not going to meet its containment deadline of December 1,” Dr Szoke said.

“Given the challenge being faced to bring the virus under control in Sierra Leone, it is vital that these life-saving human resources are delivered as soon as possible. We urge the Australian Government to continue to monitor the situation and remain open to sending additional personnel, including AUSMAT and logistical support.”

Oxfam is helping prevent the spread of Ebola both by working with communities to prevent further infections and supporting medical facilities with water, sanitation, cleaning equipment and protective clothing. So far our preventative work has directly reached over 860,000 people in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

For interviews or more information, please contact Angus Hohenboken on +61 428 367 318 or angush@oxfam.org.au