Infectious Diseases

08 December 2014

SA medical staff sought to treat Ebola in Sierra Leone

'Right to Care', a non-profit organisation that supports and delivers prevention, care, and treatment services for HIV and associated diseases, is looking for healthcare professionals to work in Sierra Leone.

As part of South Africa’s response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, Right to Care is seeking healthcare professionals willing to work for three months in Sierra Leone.

Skills in treating the condition

The recruitment process is part of the Department of Health’s Ebola Emergency Response and is currently underway. Applicants, who will ideally have ICU experience, are being offered full training, flights, transfers, salary, per diems, insurance and housing. Should they contract the disease whilst in Sierra Leone, the South African government has agreed to treatment in South Africa.

Says Prof Ian Sanne, CEO of Right to Care and an infectious diseases expert, “By sending these healthcare workers to Sierra Leone they will not only help the medical sector there, but will gain critical skills in treating this condition, should cases reach South Africa. The Department of Health has said that an effective Ebola response requires R250 million – between government and the private sector only R40 million has been raised so far. We are hoping that the Department of Health as well as private sector hospitals will release interested doctors and nurses for two months on full pay. We have teams leaving from 15 January 2015.”

Read: Efforts to combat Ebola in Liberia proving successful

Right to Care, which has contributed R3 million to the initiative, has a coordination manager currently stationed in Sierra Leone, and the organisation is involved in creating more effective systems in the country’s laboratories. Explains Sanne, “It is taking up to ten days to get Ebola cases confirmed, and by implementing the systems we use in the South African public sector, we can reduce this to 5 days. Right to Care with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) are distributing bar coded lab forms to the fourteen districts in Sierra Leone.”

There are four partners working on South Africa’s response to Ebola under the leadership of the Department of Health. They are Right to Care which has a MoU with the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone, the Wits Health Consortium which is overseeing and managing funds from the private sector on behalf of the Department of Health and the NICD which has set up labs in Sierra Leone, is providing training and has a number of staff there. FirstRand (FNB) has committed to paying for transport, flights and transfers for this medical intervention.

And as to who would be willing to accept such a vital and dangerous mission? “We believe that altruistic medical workers with an interest in infectious diseases are most likely to respond to our call,” concludes Prof Sanne. 

For further information or interviews with Dr Ali Bacher, chairman of Right to Care or Prof Sanne, CEO of Right to Care please contact Michelle K Blumenau, Turquoise PR & Marketing Communications T 011 728 5004 / 083 273 9891

About Right to Care

Right to Care is a non-profit organisation that supports and delivers prevention, care, and treatment services for HIV and associated diseases. Through technical assistance, Right to Care supports the Department of Health. In addition, through direct service delivery, Right to Care treats patients for HIV, TB, cervical cancer, medical male circumcision and sexually transmitted infections.

Read more:
Could Ebola hit SA?
Intravenous fluid could save many Ebola patients
Ebola: greatest transmission is from corpses

Image: Way to Sierra Leone from Shutterstock


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