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The healthcare workers’ clinical skill set requirements for a uniformed international response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa: the Canadian perspective
  1. Dennis Marion1,2,
  2. P B Charlebois1,3 and
  3. R Kao1,4
  1. 1Royal Canadian Medical Services, Canadian Armed Forces, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Medicine and Division of Infectious Disease, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3Departments of Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  4. 4Department of Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Western University, Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Major Dennis Marion, Department of Medicine and Division of Infectious Disease, University of Alberta, 13-103 Clinical Sciences Building 11350-83 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G3, Canada; dmarion{at}


Since December 2013, the Zaire Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic has ravaged West Africa. In collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, healthcare workers (HCWs) and support staff from the Royal Canadian Medical Services (RCMS) of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) were deployed to Kerry Town, Sierra Leone. A total of 79 RCMS personnel deployed over the course of the 6-month mission in collaboration with the British Armed Forces to support efforts in West Africa. The treatment centre was mandated to treat international and local HCWs exposed to the infection. The goal of the Ebola virus disease treatment unit (EVDTU) was to provide care to affected HCWs and a beacon to attract and engage foreign HCWs to work in one of the international non-governmental organisation Ebola treatment centres in Sierra Leone. We focus on the CAF experience at the Kerry Town Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone in particular on the various clinical skill sets demonstrated in physicians, nurses and medical technicians deployed to the EVDTU. We outline some of the staffing challenges that arose and suggest that the necessary clinical skills needed to effectively manage patients with EVD in an austere environment can be shared across a small and diverse team of healthcare providers.

  • Ebola

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