Swedish doctors join Ebola fight in Sierra Leone

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Twelve people will travel to west Africa, according to Ann-Charlotte Zachrisson, Director of Operations at Sweden’s National Agency for Safety and Preparedness. Five of them are understood to be specialist doctors.
One Swedish doctor is already working alongside a Danish team in Sierra Leone and some Swedes are volunteering for non-profit organisations across the affected countries.
But on Wednesday there was strong criticism from several charities and organisations that Sweden needed to take more action.
International medical charity MSF said on Wednesday that Sweden still wasn’t committing enough trained medical staff. Norway has promised to send 50 doctors and nurses.
Chairman of MSF Monica Oswaldson told Swedish television network SVT:
“We have over three thousand people on the ground who are working for us and it’s not enough. Therefore we ask all the states that have the capacity to go in and do what they can”.
But Ann-Charlotte Zachrisson, Director of Operations at Sweden’s National Agency for Safety and Preparedness told the station that it was struggling to recruit enough people from a small pool of experts in Sweden.
“We want people who have experience of working with infectious diseases and international experience,” she added.
Sweden’s newly appointed Health Minister Gabriel Wikström told SVT that the government was speaking to regional health authorities to try and make it easier for clinics and hospitals to free up more staff to travel to Africa.
Meanwhile doctors in Sweden are continuing to closely monitor the first case of Ebola in Scandinavia. A woman is being treated for the virus at a hospital in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

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TT/The Local/ms (news.sweden@thelocal.com)

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