Local paramedic spends Christmas Day treating Ebola victims in West Africa

Cambridgeshire paramedic among NHS heroes’ fighting Ebola this Christmas

Cambridgeshire paramedic among NHS heroes’ fighting Ebola this Christmas - Credit: Archant

A paramedic from the East Of England Ambulance Service will spend Christmas Day in Sierra Leone helping Ebola patients in a treatment centre.

Darrel Singh, 48, is one of more than 70 NHS volunteers who have travelled to the West African country as part of a £230 million UK effort to contain, control and defeat the disease in Sierra Leone.

Since arriving in Freetown Mr Singh has undergone training in the oppressive personal protective equipment (PPE) suits that form the only barrier between the health workers and the disease.

With temperatures regularly topping 30 degrees, someone who spends just one hour in the PPE suit can lose more than a litre of water in the heat.

Mr Singh said: “My experience has been a roller coaster ride, but I have seen enormous change already.

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“It has been very heartening to have a sizeable team of Cuban medical brigade, Sierra Leone Ministry of Health staff, Save the Children staff, British Military and NHS England on shift.

“The survivor results have been a real lift and the increase in capacity we have achieved is very satisfying.”

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Mr Singh is treating patients in an Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town, just outside the capital Freetown.

The British-built and British-funded centre, which opened last month, is run by Save the Children.

Justin Forsyth, Save the Children chief executive officer, said: “Both international and local health workers have made sacrifices to carry on fighting this deadly disease, which continues to claim lives and tear apart families every day.

“Treating and preventing Ebola is difficult and dangerous work, but we are making progress toward ending the epidemic. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the workers out there on the frontline this Christmas.”

There have been more than 8,000 reported cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone and nearly 2,500 people have died.

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