A total of 11 South African healthcare workers are leaving for Sierra Leone at the end of the week to treat patients in the country worst affected by the Ebola outbreak.
Ten nurses and one doctor will work in a tented hospital in protective suits, wearing four layers of gloves and two face masks.
The Department of Health initially planned to send a tented hospital to West Africa, but is now partnering with the British government, which has built hospitals but requires staff.
There is a waiting list of South African healthcare workers who want to go to Sierra Leone, NGO Right to Care, which hired the staff, has said.
The team will return after eight weeks and spend three weeks in quarantine.
The Department of Health says it needs R250-million for an effective response to Ebola and so far about R40-million has been raised from the private sector. The department initially wanted to send more than 70 nurses to West Africa.
Children have not gone to school in Sierra Leone since August where the outbreak has killed 3 083 and infected a total of 10 186 people.
For the past week, the South African team members had practised wearing their protective suits and walking with hands clasped in front of them to learn not to touch their faces, Right to Care NGO operations director Crawford Wylie Wylie said.
He said after the maximum 90 minutes in a suit, a person was covered in perspiration.
Durban resident Laura Mosiah, 32, is part of the team.
Mosiah said nursing was not a job but a calling.
“God is with me. His love spills into my heart. I am not scared.”
– Katharine Child