British military and humanitarian experts are to set up a treatment centre for ebola victims in Sierra Leone.
The 62-bed facility will be built and run by military engineers and medical staff. The centre is expected to be operational within eight weeks.
The facility is to be built near the capital Freetown and will treat victims of the disease, including local and international health workers and volunteers.
It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the number of ebola cases is “increasing exponentially” in Liberia.
WHO added that the demands of the ebola outbreak have “completely outstripped the government’s and partners’ capacity to respond”.
More than 2,000 people have died from the disease worldwide since March.
Britain’s commitment to build the treatment centre in Freetown follows a direct request for help from WHO and the Sierra Leone government.
A survey and assessment at the site in Freetown will begin later this week, according to the International Development Secretary Justine Greening.
“Britain is at the forefront of the global effort to tackle this deadly outbreak, having already committed £25m of support, including frontline treatment and funding for medical research to develop a vaccine,” Ms Greening said.
“The scale of the problem requires the entire international community to do more to assist the affected countries which is why the UK is working with the Government of Sierra Leone to build a new medical treatment facility near their capital Freetown.
“When it is up and running it will enable the UK to provide medical care for local and international health workers, as well as treatment for the wider population.”
The health facility is in addition to Britain’s £25m package of support to help contain the disease.
The announcement comes after Sierra Leone said it would impose a four-day countrywide lockdown as part of efforts to halt the spread of the disease.
It is hoped the lockdown will allow health workers to identify cases in the early stages of the illness. Some 21,000 people are to be recruited to enforce the lockdown.
According to United Nations figures, Sierra Leone has recorded 491 of the total suspected, probable and confirmed deaths caused by the outbreak.
Ebola is contracted through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids and there is currently no cure or vaccine.
Symptoms of the virus appear as a sudden onset of fever, headache, sore throat, intense weakness and muscle pain.
Source : Sky News