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SA health workers to assist Ebola hit Sierra Leone

The group has been trained by the African Union and the health ministry.

FILE: Health worker, wearing protective gear at an Ebola facility. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - A South African team of 23 health workers is expected to leave for Sierra Leone on Friday to assist in treating Ebola patients.

The team includes 20 nurses and three paramedics who will be working in the area for nearly eight weeks.

The group has been trained by the African Union and the health ministry.

Health department spokesperson, Joe Maila, says the team will also undergo a further two weeks of intensive training.

"The have been properly trained and we do something like a eight week shift process. That means after eight weeks they will come back and other people will go."

WEST AFRICA SEES SPIKE IN EBOLA CASES

Last week, the number of new Ebola cases rose for the second week in a row in West Africa, nearly doubling in Guinea, suggesting declines in the disease seen earlier this year had stalled, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Efforts to wipe out the deadly virus were being hampered by people's mistrust of health workers, and the number of people continuing to hide sick friends and relatives from authorities, particularly in Guinea's capital Conakry, officials said.

West Africa recorded 144 new confirmed cases of Ebola in the week to 8 February compared with 124 the previous week, the WHO said in a report.