William Pooley, the British male nurse who got infected in Sierra Leone with Ebola last year 2014 and Oliver Johnson, programme director in Sierra Leone for King’s Partnership, the charity for whom Mr Pooley worked, have both been honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in her annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Pooley has been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) whilst Johnson has been made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE)
Pooley who had been evacuated out of Sierra Leone when he caught the disease, upon his recovery after receiving the ZMapp drug, had flown back to continue to help Sierra Leone at the height of the crisis. He only returned back to Britain when the Ebola crisis slowed down.
Reports are that Mr Pooley did not want to comment on his award, but his mother Jackie told journalists that the family was “very proud” of him and he is hoping to continue with his nursing career.“We are very proud because he followed what he wanted to do. He followed it through even when it was uncomfortable and dangerous and he was quite aware that he was putting his life on the line,” she said.
The BBC reports that Pooley had once spoken of how scared he had been when he caught the virus. Following his recovery, he spoke at a summit in London to discuss the global response to the virus, choking up as he recalled the “horror and the misery” he had witnessed in Sierra Leone.
BBC reports that Oliver Johnson has been leading a small team on the frontline of the Ebola response at Connaught Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital Freetown.
Johnson said he was “humbled” by his honour.“Everything we achieved is due to the efforts of extraordinary local health workers and international volunteers, who have bravely led the fight against Ebola and did not hesitate to put their lives at risk to save others” he reportedly said adding “They are the real heroes of the response, and I would like to dedicate this award to them, especially those friends and colleagues who lost their lives to the disease”.
“We will continue to fight the virus until we have seen the last case, and to work with our local partners to rebuild and strengthen their health system in the coming years,” he said.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.