DFID to fund three Ebola labs in Sierra Leone

3 Nov 14
The UK government will spend a further £20m to stop the spread of Ebola by building and staffing three new laboratories in Sierra Leone, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced.

By | 3 November 2014

The UK government will spend a further £20m to stop the spread of Ebola by building and staffing three new laboratories in Sierra Leone, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced. 

Greening said the commitment was necessary to ‘tackling Ebola at the source and stopping the spread’.

The UK pledge will fund new labs, where blood samples and swabs from all over Ebola-struck Sierra Leone will be tested for the deadly virus.

DFID said testing, diagnosing and isolating Ebola carriers as quickly as possible was essential to containing the disease.

Currently test results can take five or more days to come back. But once the labs are fully operational, DFID expects this process to take around 24 hours.

The first lab was opened in Kerry Town last week, beside the UK funded Ebola treatment centre, the department added.

Two more are being built at UK treatment centres in Port Loko and Makeni under the direction of UK Royal Engineers, Public Health England and DFID. No precise date has been set for completion, but the labs are expected to be up and running by the end of the month, DFID told Cooking Recipes International

This new funding takes the UK's commitment to defeat Ebola to £225m.

Last month, the World Bank warned that the Ebola crisis could cost West Africa a total $32.6bn in lost economic output by the end of next year.

The most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – as well as neighbours in the region – could face ‘massive economic costs’ if it takes a long time for national and international action to contain the epidemic, it said.  

Following this report, the United Nations agreed plans with international partners such as the World Bank, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DFID to coordinate the response of the international community to the Ebola outbreak.

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