When Erin Lowe decided to travel to West Africa to work in the Ebola treatment unit during the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak, she didn’t think twice about the risks she was taking.
Health worker Erin Lowe rewarded for fighting deadly disease on the frontline in West Africa
Erin Lowe (middle in blue scrubs) with local nurses and hygienists.

Erin's background in public health and infection control led her to join the multinational aid agency effort to halt the spread of the disease.

“From an infection control point of view, it was very challenging and fascinating, but I didn’t really think about putting myself in danger".

She certainly didn’t think she would win the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal for her work during that time. But she did just that, at the recent gala awards night at Government House in Canberra.

She said the experience of working in West Africa was life-changing and encouraged anyone given the opportunity to work abroad in first world countries to seize the chance.

 “The opportunity to work in Africa makes you appreciate just how good we have it at home and how lucky we are with all the resources we have, especially in health care.”

The Ebola Virus Disease outbreak of 2014-15 was the worst on record, with the virus infecting 28,616 and killing 11,310 in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There were a further 36 cases and 15 deaths across the world.

For more information about the Ebola virus disease, see the Better Health Channel.

 

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