Save the Children is in discussions with the British government about taking over a treatment centre near the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, as part of the international effort to combat the deadly Ebola outbreak.
The 62-bed facility will treat victims of the disease, including local and international health workers and medical volunteers.
UK military engineers will begin to survey and assess the site later this week and the first phase is expected to be completed and operational within eight weeks.
Urgent action needed
Our CEO Justin Forsyth said: “Ebola threatens thousands of people’s lives across West Africa and could set back development many decades.
“The key to combating this epidemic is backing frontline health workers and underpinning a fractured health system in Sierra Leone – without urgent action to assist medics, many more children and their families will suffer and die from this appalling and tragic disease.
“Save the Children is working alongside the UK International Development department and Ministry of Defence on a feasibility study to cement plans firstly to help set up the centre and then to take it over with international experts, as well as local staff, to provide the very best life-saving health service under the most challenging conditions.”
The new initiative is the result of a direct request from the Sierra Leone government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is in addition to Britain’s existing £25 million package to help West African nations combat Ebola.
At least 2,100 people infected with Ebola have died so far in the West African states of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this year.