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Ebola front-line beckons again for nurse Anne

HELPING: Former Sunshine Coast nurse and Red Cross Australia volunteer Anne Carey working with Ebola victims in Sierra Leone.
HELPING: Former Sunshine Coast nurse and Red Cross Australia volunteer Anne Carey working with Ebola victims in Sierra Leone. Michael Duffaustralian Red Cros

NOT long home after a month-long stint in Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone as an Australian Red Cross nurse, former Coast resident Anne Carey already wants to head back to help again.

Speaking to the Daily from home isolation in Western Australia, Ms Carey said her time on the Ebola front-line had been tough but rewarding.

"It's a lot of work, three or four times a day we're in and out of the (protective) suit and you can only stay in the suit for about an hour before it gets too hot," she said.

"Australian Red Cross set up a hospital exclusively for people suffering Ebola and suspected of having Ebola and there's a team from around the world working with about 300 local staff."

Ms Carey must spend 21 days in home isolation to ensure she has not contracted the virus.

But she said aid workers took strict precautions to ensure they did not become infected.

"We work in a buddy system when we're suited up and we all look after each other," she said.

"It's quite safe. You feel safe when you're in the suit."

Working in Kenema, one of Sierra Leone's largest cities, Ms Carey said the locals had embraced their responsibilities to prevent further outbreaks.

"The energy's quite high over there because everyone wants to fight Ebola and move on," she said.

"It is a war against Ebola."

Amazingly, the number of survivors was on the increase, but Ms Carey said it was near impossible to predict which sufferers would survive.

"People get Ebola and their body tries to fight it with the immune system," she said.

"You get some that look like they won't make it pull through, and others that are sitting up talking with you and are dead within an hour."

Ms Carey said her previous aid experiences in Darfur, Sudan and Papua New Guinea had prepared her well to assist in Sierra Leone.

"It's about helping people... we've got to help people, you can't let half the world die just because they've got something.

"I'd love to (go back) especially after the training I've done. I'd love to get over there for another month."

Topics:  ebola nurse



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