May 19, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
A Sierra Leone Red Cross Society nurse is among thirty-six outstanding nurses honoured by the Florence Nightingale Foundation with an International Distinction Award.
Josephine Makieu, who is head nurse at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Ebola treatment centre in Kenema, was given the award based on her leadership and commitment to caring for Ebola patients at the centre in eastern Sierra Leone.
In an interview with Concord Times, nurse Makieu expressed delight at having won the award.
“I have been able to deliver for my country and my people. I with others have worked in the interest of our country to care for the Ebola patients when many people were frightened to provide services. I am very proud to have helped my country in this time of crisis,” Makieu said, adding that it was an honour and privilege to be recognized among the distinguished group of nurses.
“I have never been so proud to be a nurse, and a manager of nurses. I asked local and international staff to step forward and do what everyone else was scared to do, and they did it with such care, compassion and humanity. I was humbled every day to work alongside them,” she enthused.
The Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kenema provided care to 597 patients and was opened in September last year to respond to the urgent needs of the unfolding Ebola epidemic in the district. Serving as a critical isolation unit, the facility helped to halt the spread of the disease in the district, then an epicenter of the virus. The facility and its staff played a critical part in reigning-in on the explosion of cases in Kono district in December last year.
The Florence Nightingale Award is bestowed upon nurses who have demonstrated exceptional commitment, outstanding qualities and exemplary service.
Florence Nightingale, whom the award commemorates, descended from a wealthy British family but had a keen social conscience. She volunteered to care for British soldiers after hearing alarming reports about the state of healthcare on the frontlines of the Crimean War (1854-1856). Her compassion, extraordinary organizational skills, self-discipline and ability to be effective in the middle of chaos enabled her to improve medical care and lower the mortality rate on the frontline. Her legacy and commitment to providing care to those in need lives on through this award.