A British volunteer nurse who survived Ebola said he is returning to West Africa where he caught the disease “because there is still a lot of work to do out there.” William Pooley was the first known U.K. citizen to be infected in the current outbreak but made a full recovery after he was flown to London in a military plane in August and treated in isolation with the experimental drug ZMapp.
The 29-year-old said Wednesday that he is preparing to fly back to Sierra Leone to help fight the outbreak that has claimed almost 4,500 lives. “I know my mum and dad are worried but they know it’s something I have to do,” he said while at a training session for U.K. health workers who have volunteered to help on the ground to combat the spread of the disease.
The Suffolk-born nurse has previously said he “cannot sit here in the UK and watch the people of Sierra Leone die”. Pooley, who supposedly has made a 100% recover, said: “I have some experience now of working with Ebola patients so I can apply that.”
He told a conference last week organised by the Sierra Leonean high commission: “I must go back to Sierra Leone to continue my work in helping those people affected by Ebola.”
Pooley, 29, was the first – and so far only – British national to have contracted the disease and was airlifted out of Sierra Leone last month and treated at the Royal Free hospital in north London.
At the time, he said he felt “wonderfully lucky” to be alive but indicated he would consider going back to help the exhausted health workers who are struggling to keep pace with the spread of the virus.
He spoke after a video was released of 17-year-old Douda Fullah who had lost five members of his family and begged the world to come to his aid.
Pooley recalled how helpful Fullah had been in caring for his grandmother and his stepmother when they were dying in the Ebola ward the nurse was working in.
Pooley has also spoken of the case of a brother and sister aged four and two who died.
He has said “at all costs” the international community must not allow what happened to them to be repeated one million times.