UK-Med deploys to Eswatini as part of the UK Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT) to support the country’s COVID-19 response.
Saturday January 30: UK-Med as part of the UK Medical Emergency Team is deploying a team of 11 medical and operational specialists to Eswatini in Southern Africa to support health care teams fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four British members of the international team fly from Heathrow today.
The team has been deployed on behalf of the UK Government and will work with the Eswatini Ministry of Health to strengthen health services by training and providing on-the-job support to doctors and nurses caring for serious and critically ill patients with COVID-19.
A biomedical engineer will also train Eswatini staff on how to install, use and maintain critical care equipment, and support the distribution of key supplies including oxygen.
Coronavirus is now present in all four regions of Eswatini, a country of 1.1 million people.
As of today Saturday January 30 2021, Eswatini has a total of 15,471 COVID-19 cases and 551 people have died from the illness. The country has seen a surge of new cases and fatalities since December 2020, with limited access to testing and treatment for much of the population.
Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, said: “Our UK Emergency Medical Team will save lives by using their world-leading specialist expertise and skills to make sure medics in Eswatini are best equipped to treat those seriously sick with coronavirus. “We stand by the people of Eswatini in the battle to bring this outbreak under control. This dreadful disease does not respect borders, and none of us are safe until we are all safe.’
UK-Med’s surgical advisor and UK EMT Team Lead Andy Kent says: “Our team will be working alongside health care teams to support them with the treatment of increasing numbers of serious and critically-ill COVID-19 patients. They will also supervise and train Eswatini health staff, and help make sure that critical care equipment is functioning and used efficiently.’
The UK-EMT team is made up of members from the UK, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their specialisms include critical care, infection prevention and control, risk communications and biomedical engineering.
The UK EMT is the UK’s front-line response to a humanitarian crisis overseas and is able to rapidly deploy resources that include a fully equipped surgical field hospital when needed.
Last year, the UK EMT supported the World Health Organization and health ministries in the fight against coronavirus in deployments to Ghana, South Africa, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Chad, Zambia, Armenia and Lebanon.
The EMT is a partnership of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, emergency health NGO UK-Med, rehabilitation specialists NGO Humanity & Inclusion, the UK Fire and Rescue Service and humanitarian logistics specialists Palladium.
We’ll post more updates as our response develops over the coming weeks.
We’re grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for UK Aid funding from the British people to fund this important response.We’ll post more updates as our response develops over the coming weeks.