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Bending the curve: force health protection during the insertion phase of the Ebola outbreak response
  1. Mark S Bailey1,2,
  2. K Beaton3,
  3. D Bowley4,
  4. W Eardley5,6,
  5. P Hunt7,
  6. S Johnson8,
  7. J Round9,
  8. N T Tarmey10 and
  9. A Williams11
  1. 1Department of Infection & Tropical Medicine, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Military Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Headquarters 2nd Medical Brigade, York, UK
  4. 4Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  5. 5Department of Orthopaedics, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  6. 6Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  7. 7Emergency Department, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, UK
  8. 8Garrison Medical Centre, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, UK
  9. 9Anaesthetics & Critical Care, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  10. 10Academic Department of Critical Care, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK
  11. 11Department of Cardiology, Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, United Kingdom
  1. Correspondence to Lt Col DM Bowley, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2WB, UK; dougbowley{at}nhs.net

Abstract

After >10 years of enduring operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Defence Strategic Direction is returning to a contingency posture. As the first post-Afghanistan operation, in September 2014, a UK Joint Inter-Agency Task Force deployed to Sierra Leone in response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa. The aims were expanding treatment capacity, assisting with training and supporting host nation resilience. The insertion phase of this deployment created a unique set of challenges for force health protection. In addition to the considerable risk of tropical disease and trauma, deployed personnel faced the risks of working in an EVD epidemic. This report explores how deployed medical assets overcame the difficulties of mounting a short-notice contingent operation in a region of the world with inherent major climatic and health challenges.

  • Received October 29, 2014.
  • Revision received April 29, 2015.
  • Accepted May 5, 2015.

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  • Received October 29, 2014.
  • Revision received April 29, 2015.
  • Accepted May 5, 2015.
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