New Zealand Sends Nurses To Sierra Leone To Join Fight Against Ebola

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By Reissa Su | August 14, 2014 6:49 PM EST

New Zealand is responding to the international call for help in fighting the Ebola virus in West Africa. Experienced emergency response nurse Donna Collins will be heading to Sierra Leone to join other members of the International Red Cross team. Together with another nurse, Sharon Mackie from Wellington, Collins is ready to do what she loves the most.

REUTERS/Umaru Fofana
Government health workers are seen during the administration of blood tests for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014. REUTERS

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The recent Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa. There is currently no specific treatment and vaccine available to fight the deadly virus. Health experts said the Ebola virus death rate is 60 percent.

However, despite the odds, Collins remains confident that she will be able to return safe from three weeks of service in Sierra Leone. She told the NZ Herald that she has a "passion" for helping others. She said if the Ebola outbreak had happened in New Zealand, Collins would like to think other countries would do the same to help.

Collins is experienced in dealing with bodily fluids on a daily basis and relies on her training and experience in following protocol.

The deployment of the two New Zealand nurses in Sierra Leone is part of a plea for help by the International Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies by the Sierra Leone government and the World Health Organisation.

According to New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine, Collins and Mackie were "courageous, committed and true humanitarians." Paine said the nurses have volunteered in response to the international cry for help.

Collins and Mackie will be joined by other Red Cross health professionals from Australia, Spain, Norway and the UK. They will help prepare an isolation ward and provide care for people infected with Ebola in Kenema which is said to be the "worst-hit" in Sierra Leone.

The Kiwi nurses will be spending three weeks in quarantine before they will be allowed to return to New Zealand.

WHO had declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as an international health emergency with 1,711 cases reported and 932 recorded deaths.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Umaru Fofana / )
Government health workers are seen during the administration of blood tests for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014. REUTERS
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