Ebola: the UK EHP response?

This brief blog was prompted by yesterday’s request from Graham Jukes, Chief Exec of the UK Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, for EHPs to participate in the response to the Ebola outbreak. See:

Detail on the UK response to the outbreak is being updated constantly, but the UK Government’s website contains some useful resources including Public Health England’s guide for humanitarian aid workers considering travelling to the Ebola affected countries of West Africa. See:

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ebola-government-response/about

The site also includes a link to the NGO Save the Children’s jobs page and the Ebola WASH (i.e. environmental health) related posts available:

http://www.savethechildren.net/jobs

The recent BBC article by Save the Children’s WASH advisor Mark Buttle provides a good summary of what this post would involve:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29457546

Lastly, I have very limited humanitarian aid experience (2 very traumatic weeks!!) but I’ve spent three years working in WASH and wider environmental health in three African countries and I would urge any potential UK EHP volunteers to think very, very carefully before putting their names forward.

I’m also a water & sanitation alumnus of WEDC, Loughborough University like Mark Buttle (http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk) and have completed three RedR EH humanitarian training courses (http://www.redr.org.uk/), but I can’t reinforce enough Graham Jukes’s comment that any UK EHP volunteer would need much training (and ideally lots of developing country EH experience) before embarking on this complex, important and potentially dangerous work. Mark Buttle’s article above summarises the roller coaster of humanitarian work in this outbreak very well, but I also recommend the 2006 book Emergency Sex (and other desperate measures) by Postlewait (et al) Ebury Press as compulsory reading for all those considering humanitarian work (please don’t be put off by the title)!

I hope these resources are of interest and my thoughts remain with all those affected by the outbreak.

With best wishes, Rob.

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