10 September 2014

British Ebola Survivor Wants To Return To Sierra Leone

The British Ebola survivor, who contracted the deadly virus in Sierra Leone and was cured already in the UK, wants to come back to the West African country to continue the fight for peoples’ lives.

It would be recalled that William Pooley recovered only last week and was discharged from the Royal Free Hospital, where he had been immediately flown upon getting infected with the tropical virus in Africa.

In a fresh interview with the Guardian, the 29-year-old nurse also characterized Ebola as a global problem, which needs global intervention and urged UK’s David Cameron and US’s Barack Obama to do more to mobilise the international community in the face of the epidemic.

“Sierra Leone needs lots of international health-care workers working with big NGOs like MSF and Red Cross. All of that needs to be increased.”

While Pooley is relaxing at parental home after the discharge, he already thinks about the necessity to help people.

“So while I’m happy to be recovered and alive, there’s a lot of stuff on my mind with what’s going on back there. It would be relatively safe for me to go back and work there, and it’s really the least I could do having received all this amazing care and have people look after me and potentially save my life. It’s the least I could do to go back and return the favour to some other people, even just for a little while.”

The British has reportedly not shared his plans with parents yet. However when his mother was asked how she would react if he decided to return to West Africa ravaged by the epidemic, she answered:

“Well, it would be his choice. We would want him to go back, not as an individual but with an organisation of some kind so he’s got the backing. Obviously in a way we don’t want [him] to, but I can see I would feel very proud of him if he decided he was going to, because he knows what it is going to be like.”
Will Pooley in Sierra Leone

Pooley, who was provided the best healthcare possible in the  UK, commented on what the situation was like in Sierra Leone:

“Corpses, blood, the place was really dirty – people just dying in quite unpleasant ways. When I first started there were not enough materials, there was no running water, no sheets or towels to clean a patient with. They might be incontinent, they are often confused, so you can imagine, with diarrhoea and vomiting, patients get in horrible condition.”

He explained that health workers in Kenema had to “improvise” to discover the ways of dealing with the situation and simply figuring how to clean people and and find something to cover them with.

Speaking about having contracted the disease, the volunteer said he waited till the last moment before telling his parents the bad news:

“Telling mum and dad about having Ebola was just horrible. It was definitely the worst thing of it all.”

At that time he did not think about death, William confessed:

“My fear of the symptoms was perhaps worse than the fear of the death. Working in the hospital, seeing the way people die. Even here with the amazing care you get here you could still die a very horrible death.”

Later, after having been transported to London, Pooley felt great support from people, as he received cards and children’s drawings from the public, which touched him a lot. He also narrated how a Sierra Leone family came to the hospital to give him children’s drawings and thank him for his volunteer work.

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