Ebola survivor William Pooley, from Eyke, gives Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message
Suffolk’s Ebola survivor William Pooley has called for a global solution to the epidemic which has claimed the lives of more than 7,500 people in west Africa.
The 29-year-old nurse, from Eyke near Woodbridge, was speaking during Channel 4’s Altervative Christmas Message earlier today.
He became the first Briton to be evacuated from west Africa with the deadly disease and returned to work in Sierra Leone after making a full recovery.
He said Ebola is unlike any other disease he has ever witnessed and said thousands have died “lonely, miserable deaths” without access to proper medical attention.
Mr Pooley followed in the footsteps of people including Edward Snowden, Ali G, and Sharon Osbourne in delivering Channel 4’s answer to the Queen’s message to the nation.
Speaking from the Connaught hospital in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, Mr Pooley said: “I don’t want to make you feel guilty, but I would like you to think just for a few minutes about what you could do to help.
“This is a global problem and it will take the world to fix it. What a wonderful Christmas present that would be.”
He contracted the deadly virus six weeks after he began working with Ebola patients in west Africa and was airlifted back to the UK for treatment in August this year.
He developed symptoms six weeks after starting work in Kenema government hospital in Sierra Leone.
He was flown back to the Royal Free Hospital, London, for specialist treatment.
He said: “After I recovered I decided that I wanted to return to Sierra Leone and continue my work there as a nurse.
‘Ebola is unlike any disease I’ve ever witnessed. Nothing can prepare you for the effect it has on the infected, on their families and on their communities.
“I realise I was incredibly lucky, lucky to be born in a wealthy country, lucky to be well-educated, lucky to have access to the best possible treatment for this awful disease.’
Mr Pooley asked people to take a few minutes and ask themselves how they could help in fight against Ebola
But he said thousands of thousands of people in west Africa have not had that luck and died “lonely, miserable deaths” without access to proper medical attention.
“If anything, Christmas should focus our minds on our kinship with people in all corners of the globe,” he said.
“We are all brothers and sisters. I’m sure we would all help a brother or sister in need.”