Seventeen Australian health workers will depart for West Africa over the following days to train and prepare to provide clinical care in an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

This is part of Australia’s $42 million contribution to the Ebola response in West Africa, announced by the Prime Minister on 5 November 2014, and will form part of the UK’s broader response in Sierra Leone.

The health workers all have extensive experience in disease control, and will undertake comprehensive Ebola treatment training in Sierra Leone in accordance with World Health Organization standards. They have undertaken preliminary training in Canberra this week.

The Ebola treatment centre to be managed and operated by Australia is located at Hastings Airfield, close to Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. This location has an urban population, a high and growing rate of Ebola transmission, and a very high demand for treatment beds. Australia will be saving lives.

The centre is currently under construction by UK Royal Engineers. Fit out with medical equipment is expected to be completed by mid-December.

The 100 bed facility will commence operations with a smaller number of beds and scale up to capacity, in accordance with best practice. This will ensure proper safety practices are in place and infection control procedures are working effectively.

The Australian Government continues to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, due to the ongoing and widespread transmission of Ebola. Further information is available on Smartraveller.

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