Will Pooley, the British nurse who has been cured of Ebola, is an example of the “courage” and resilience needed to tackle the ebola crisis, foreign secretary Philip Hammond has said.
He was speaking at a press conference during an international summit in central London where countries pledged their support to efforts to try and tackle the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
Mr Pooley, 29, is just back from a life-saving mission to the US where he gave blood to try to help a victim of the virus.
Mr Hammond noted: “His body has considerable immune cells in the hope of helping to advance research into finding a vaccination against the disease.
“Yesterday he was helping to train health workers about to deploy to the region,” he said. “Today he has been here acting as an ambassador for the crusade against ebola at this conference.”
Mr Pooley, of Suffolk, became the first Briton to contract the virus after working as a volunteer nurse in Sierra Leone, which is one of the worst-hit countries of the current outbreak.
He was flown back to Britain on August 24 and recovered after being treated at an isolation unit at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
International development secretary Justine Greening added: “The picture painted by Will Pooley of his experience and the children he had cared for but who nevertheless died gave us a real sense of what this disease is doing to families and to people on the ground.”
Among the pledges – aimed at containing, controlling and defeating ebola – made at the conference was £70m from Save the Children, of which £40m had been earmarked for Sierra Leone.
Comic Relief pledged £1m while GSK donated £300,000 for Save the Children’s efforts in the region.
“What we have done today is increase the odds of success in the battle against this disease”
Cuba offered 63 doctors and 102 nurses, bringing its input to 181 Cuban medical staff who are set to help in Sierra Leone – many will be involved in training staff.
Australia pledged an additional 10 million US dollars (£6.2m) to the UN Trust Fund and a two million US dollar (£1.2m) contribution to the Department for International Development.
Finland, which has already given one million US dollars (£620,000) through the World Health Organisation and the Red Cross, said more money was in the pipeline.
Mr Hammond said: “What we have done today is increase the odds of success in the battle against this disease and increased the chances of hundreds of thousands of people in the region of surviving the disease.”