Volunteers’ Ebola task is an example to all of us

The Richmond Arms
, West Ashling

THE DISH DETECTIVE: The Richmond Arms, West Ashling, near Chichester

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As stricken nurse Pauline Cafferkey lies in her hospital bed, starting what we hope is the road to recovery after contracting Ebola, it’s heartening that volunteer Jason Humphries is undeterred from wanting to help people in Africa.

Jason, of Gosport, already helps out people on a regular basis as a member of St John Ambulance.

But there’s no doubt that being on call at football games and fireworks displays is a far cry from entering a country which is part of one of the worst epidemics of recent years – and one that, if urgent action is not taken, has the capability to be truly destructive.

And that’s exactly why the bravery of Jason – and Pauline, and many others like them – is so admirable.

Containing infectious diseases takes manpower; it needs people to care for the victims, it needs people to organise the reaction and it needs people to clean and decontaminate public areas.

It’s also vital that skills are passed on to those in live in the area so that the work can be continued when the help force returns home.

Regardless of what role people are playing in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, it’s all part of a team working to combat Ebola.

While valid questions have been raised about how quickly the governments of those countries and the World Health Organisation reacted to the disease, what’s not in question is that the efforts of aid workers, doctors and nurses – many of whom are volunteers – has been inspirational.

We wish Jason all the best in his time in Guinea, and that he returns home safely.

And in the first few days of the new year, as many people’s resolutions end up focused around themselves in terms of consuming less or exercising more, perhaps it is a valuable moral about looking outwards and seeing what you can do to help other people rather than yourself.

Just as Jason was inspired to volunteer for St John by being helped himself, let us hope that his example leads others to look at the wider picture in 2015.

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