British nurses on why they’re still fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone

NHS staff working to tackle the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone
NHS staff working to tackle the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone Credit: ITV News

As British nurse Pauline Cafferkey fights for her life in a London hospital after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone, 40 of her colleagues remain in Makeni, the West African country’s worst affected city, helping to fight the deadly disease.

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler reports from the International Medical Corps-run centre in Sierra Leone:

It’s hot, tiring work and it carries a considerable risk, but for the NHS staff who have come to Sierra Leone, it’s a calling.

Their colleague, who is in a critical but stabilised condition, is in all of their thoughts.

They know what she’s going through because they see the symptoms every day.

What they deal with only furthers their determination to beat the virus and their approach to the job hasn’t changed. Just as Pauline Cafferkey did, they all knew the risk when they volunteered.

GP Anna Martin told ITV News that she 'knew she had to' volunteer in Sierra Leone
GP Anna Martin told ITV News that she ‘knew she had to’ volunteer in Sierra Leone Credit: ITV News

“We take every precaution possible in order to not contract Ebola,” GP Anna Martin told ITV News.

Explaining her decision to fly to Sierra Leone to volunteer, she said: “I’ve got the skills, the experience in order to be able to provide basic care and I knew I had to do it.”

Nothing has changed for her she said, despite Cafferkey, a Scottish public health nurse, contracting the disease.

The workers encounter heartbreak every day. This afternoon, five-month-old baby Mary tested positive for Ebola and is being cared for by a survivor who is immune to the virus.

Five-month-old baby Mary, who has tested positive for Ebola, being cared for by a survivor of the disease
Five-month-old baby Mary, who has tested positive for Ebola, being cared for by a survivor of the diseaseCredit: ITV News

By helping to stop the spread of the disease, British volunteer staff here believe they are protecting more than just the people of Sierra Leone – but are helping to stop Ebola from reaching people back home.

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