- The senior health adviser for the Red Cross in Sierra Leone says she is embarrassed by the Australian Government’s response to the Ebola crisis.
- A new World War I museum in Brisbane is paying tribute to the doctors, nurses and orderlies who served on the battlefront from 1914 to 1918.
- An estimated $1.3 billion could be saved if Western Australia’s smoking rate was cut to 4 per cent by 2030, a new report on the social costs of smoking has found.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 29th October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
The senior health advisor for the Red Cross in Sierra Leone says she is embarrassed by the Australian Government’s response to the Ebola crisis.
Australian Amanda McClelland runs the organisation’s treatment Centre in Kenema, and told The World Today she was surprised the Government was not sending medical teams into Sierra Leone, and its blanket ban on issuing visas to people travelling from those countries.
“I am surprised … but more embarrassed, to be honest,” she said.
“It’s difficult to be here and sit with the Sierra Leone government and have them today ask me, ‘am I going to be allowed to come home?'”
She said it was particularly galling for her as she was desperately short staffed and was now calling on Ebola survivors to help.
“I’m asking taxi drivers and students to deal with Ebola, and the Australian Government is not sending doctors and nurses with 16 years of education,” she said.
“And to be honest, I’m a bit embarrassed that we don’t feel that our health system and our health personnel are qualified and professional enough to manage this.
“I mean, the Australian health care system is more than robust enough to respond quickly – if and when – a case came.
“And I think we have some of the best medical professionals in the world and experience in working in these types of environments.”
Ms McClelland was training Ebola survivors to help treat their country men and women with the deadly disease.
One of the nurses, Hawa Jollah, told The World Today she feared she would die when she caught the virus in June.
Amanda McClelland told The World Today 12 of the new trainees were former nurses, all of whom were Ebola survivors.
The great advantage of training survivors was that they had more immunity to the disease, and could help others, particularly the children of Ebola victims, without as much fear of infection.
Ms McClelland had a full staff roster but that was a week-to-week proposition.
The Sierra Leone and Liberian governments condemned the Australian Government for generating unnecessary panic about Ebola.
Ms McClelland said she was concerned at least three health professionals, who were due to fill her roster next week, may now not come.
But she said health professionals knew the science and were not put off by the scare-mongering, though their families were.
A new World War I museum in Brisbane is paying tribute to the doctors, nurses and orderlies who served on the battlefront from 1914 to 1918.
During that time more than 100 medical staff left their posts at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) to help tend to the sick and wounded.
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove opened the Hospital Healers exhibition at the hospital’s Nursing Museum, praising their vital role in the war.
The exhibition features diary extracts, letters and clothing of nurses such as Dorothy Francis Webb, who was 26 years-old when she enlisted on 20 July 1915.
Organiser and RBWH nurses association president Cluny Seager said the exhibition also highlighted the difficulties the hospital faced when it lost so many of its staff.
She said the 1918 influenza pandemic in Queensland was a huge challenge.
Ms Seager said the exhibition revealed the hospital had a proud war history.
The exhibition will run for the duration of the World War I centenary.
An estimated $1.3 billion could be saved if Western Australia’s smoking rate was cut to 4 per cent by 2030, a new report on the social costs of smoking has found.
The report, commissioned by the Cancer Council WA, found that would equal about $6,000 per person.
Report author Professor David Collins said the 4 per cent target was possible, but fairly ambitious.
He said there were also very important intangible costs arising from increased life expectancy if smoking rates were cut.
“Smoking kills people prematurely, so there’d be very substantial benefits which accrue to individuals from living longer and less pain and suffering for them and their families and their friends,” he said.
Mr Collins said people would also live and work longer, which would create flow on benefits of more than $700 million a year for business.
“The costs are basically through absenteeism, reduced productivity at the workplace and reduced size of the workforce through the premature death of people of working age,” he said.
Smoking rates in WA are currently estimated at about 10 per cent.
The report said smoking had been responsible for the deaths of 1,420 West Australians in 2009-10.
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