Ebola Treatment Center Opens in Sierra Leone

Prospective health-care workers in the Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Center test decontamination procedures in Sierra Leone. Photo by Louis Leeson / Save the Children.

Prospective health-care workers in the Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Center test decontamination procedures in Sierra Leone. Photo by Louis Leeson / Save the Children.

Save the Children is opening its first specialist Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Sierra Leone, as part of its wider fight to treat and stop the spread of Ebola.

Located in Kerry Town, 40 kilometers outside the capital Freetown, the 80-bed facility provides diagnosis and treatment to infected patients, while ensuring that children receive the care and protection they need.

The center will increase local capacity to rapidly assess and hospitalize patients, while helping to reduce the risk of further infecting friends and relatives at home.

“Sierra Leone, which has seen the number of new Ebola cases rise for six consecutive weeks, is one of the countries in the region most gravely affected by Ebola, leaving its population and health-care system completely overwhelmed,” said Rob MacGillivray, country director for Save the Children in Sierra Leone. “This treatment center will help with the early diagnosis of those infected with Ebola, increasing their chances of survival.”


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The Ebola Treatment Center will have more than 200 frontline medical staff, including a contingent of Cuban doctors, with around 50 on shift at any one time.

A further 50-70 non-clinical support staff and more than 100 hygienists will also be based at the Kerry Town site, with 100 to 120 staff working at the center at any given time.

In addition, the center will house a small separate clinic run by the UK Ministry of Defense to treat both Sierra Leonean and international health workers, should they become infected with the virus.

Equipment still wrapped in plastic inside an Ebola treatment center opened by Save the Children Sierra Leone. Photo by Louis Leeson / Save the Children.

Equipment still wrapped in plastic inside an Ebola treatment center opened by Save the Children Sierra Leone. Photo by Louis Leeson / Save the Children.

Patients arriving at the treatment center will be triaged by staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), who will take blood samples and immediately send them to the onsite lab for testing, with results expected within a matter of hours.

If patients test positive for Ebola, they will be sent to one of three wards, based on the severity of their symptoms: one for mild cases, another for severe cases, and one for emergency cases.

The Kerry Town Ebola treatment center was built in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), the Ministry of Defence and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health.

In September, Save the Children opened a 70-bed Ebola treatment unit in Bong country, Liberia, which is being run by the International Medical Corps (IMC) – and is set to open a second treatment unit in Margibi County later this year.

It will also open the first of 10 Community Care Centers in Liberia next week, which are smaller, community-led facilities designed to isolate and treat Ebola patients within their towns and villages.

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