Ebola fear real, but unnecessary

When registered nurse Libby Bowell returned from five weeks working in Liberia with the Red Cross, she came back to 21 days of home quarantine and rampant hysteria.

“I’ve been on a lot of missions and I’ve not experienced this feeling of ‘you’re not welcome’,” Libby told ABC Radio National’s Fran Kelly.

“There hasn’t been a lot of respect shown [in Australia] for those of us who’ve gone there. We’re highly trained health professionals that know exactly how to get Ebola and we don’t get it because we follow the rules.

“I knew I was 100 per cent well, because if you don’t have the symptoms you don’t have the disease, and the first symptom is a fever.

“I took my temperature every day and I kept a low profile because I wanted this hysteria to go away,” Libby said.

Libby told Radio National that while she was permitted to go for walks and could go to the supermarket at night, she was required to report to public health authorities every day.

“They were supportive and they lifted my spirits,” she said. “I understand that if people don’t know anything about Ebola then their fear is real. But a lot of what’s been discussed in this country, which has great healthcare facilities, is complete rubbish.”

Despite the hysteria Libby said she would return to Liberia if she had the opportunity.

“I would go back in a heartbeat. The people are beautiful. They’re human beings, they need our help and I think, yeah, yeah, if I can go, I will go again.

“It is the right thing to do – to go and help.”


Pictured above: Liberia, Kollies Town 2014: Libby Bowell (centre) with the Liberian Red Cross and IFRC health workers at the launch of the Red Cross Community-Based Protection Program in Kollies Town, Montserrado County.
PHOTO: ©INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES