Wearside-based Grundfos plays key role in battle against ebola

Staff at Grundfos worked around the clock to complete the order for water boosters in record time.

Grundfos' operations manager Mark Lister (left) and Michael Ward
Grundfos' operations manager Mark Lister (left) and Michael Ward

Wearside-based Grundfos has played a key role in the UK’s response to the deadly ebola crisis.

The pump manufacturer was asked by the Royal Air Force to produce 18 water boosters to provide safe, clean water supplies for three vital treatment centres in Sierra Leone, an area badly affected by the outbreak.

Workers at the Castletown firm – part of the Denmark-headquartered global pump manufacturer – worked against the clock to turn out the boosters in record time, producing the numbers needed in only five days.

Mark Lister, operations manager at the site, which employs around 200 people, said: “An order like that would normally take four weeks, but we managed to beat the deadline we were set by the company sourcing components on behalf of the RAF.

“People worked extra hours and stayed late to get the work done. We obviously realised how important it was. Our German and Hungarian colleagues helped us out by sending parts we needed by airfreight.

“I was really proud of our response and the people who produced the units in such a short time.”

The boosters have been flown out to be fitted into treatment centres being built under the direction of the RAF in Moyamba, Makeno and Port Loko.

Lee Carlin, General Manager for Grundfos, said: “This has been a real team effort and I’m proud of the way Grundfos as a company has responded and hopefully the boosters can play a role in halting the progress of this terrible disease.”

So far this year, more than 6,000 people have been killed by the virus in West Africa and more than 13,000 have been infected. Ebola has claimed nearly 1,000 people in Sierra Leone alone.

The treatment centres are part of the UK’s £125m contribution to the fight against ebola, which includes the deployment of RFA Argus, a military vessel with a fully equipped 100-bed hospital on board.

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