Ebola outbreak: British survivor William Pooley returns to Sierra Leone to fight the disease

William Pooley is flying back to Sierra Leone after being treated for Ebola

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The Independent Online

William Pooley, 29, will fly back to Sierra Leone this evening and will continue his work helping to treat people with the disease there. He has said he is “delighted” to able to return and he wants to “prevent as many deaths as possible.”

Pooley was working to tackle the epidemic in West Africa when he contracted the virus himself and had to be flown back to the UK in August. Pooley was the first confirmed Briton to have contracted Ebola; he has been treated in London’s Royal Free Hospital and is now well again.

Mr Pooley, who is from Eyke in Suffolk said: "I am delighted to be returning to Sierra Leone to join the King's Health Partners team. I would like to once again thank the team at the Royal Free Hospital and the RAF who provided me with such excellent treatment and support.”

"But the real emergency is in West Africa, and the teams out there need all the support we can give them.

"I am now looking forward to getting back out there and doing all I can to prevent as many unnecessary deaths as possible” he told the Press Association.

Mr Pooley was treated with the experimental drug ZMapp and left hospital on 3 September after making a full recovery. Earlier this month he flew to the United States to give blood in the hope that a cure can be found.

Mr Pooley will land in Free Town tonight and will start working for the isolation unit at Connaught Hospital where he will train local staff and help to set up new isolation units. He will work with the King’s Health Partner’s team, which is a partnership between King’s College London and three London NHS trusts.

Dr Oliver Johnson, the programme director for the King's Sierra Leone Partnership, said: "It is fantastic that Will has chosen to join our small team here at Connaught Hospital.The situation here in Freetown is getting worse by the day and so Will's experience and commitment will be vital as we do everything we can to stem the flow of cases.”

Pooley has said in an interview with the Guardian that although people who have survived Ebola are thought to be immune, this has not been scientifically proven and he could still be at risk. He said he would still be following the same safety procedures as before.

Speaking in Whitehall earlier this week, Pooley said: "There is still a lot of work to do out there and I am in the same or better position than when I chose to go out before,"

"I know my mum and dad are worried but they support me because they know this is something I have to do.”

Britain has committed £125 million of aid support to tackle Ebola. Britain latest aid flight landed in Sierra Leone yesterday. It was the UK's sixth aid flight and carried almost £900,000 worth of medical equipment needed for a 92 bed treatment facility in Kerry Town, including blood banks, centrifuges and protective equipment such as goggles and gloves.

Over 4,500 people in West Africa have died of Ebola already. Pooley told the Guardian that the west could do more could be done to improve health outcomes in Africa. “I can’t really see anything changing, maybe we will get involved in the Ebola response, but after it’s over things will go back to how they’ve always been.

“It’s a total shame we’re ignoring all this death going on not too far away, but it’s always been the case. It always will be” he said.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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