Pauline Cafferkey, the Scottish nurse who survived Ebola, has said she will travel back to Sierra Leone, where she contracted the disease, to seek ‘closure’.
Cafferkey, from Glasgow, was working as a volunteer in Sierra Leone in 2014 during the Ebola epidemic, which killed almost 4,000 people, when she became infected herself.
She will return to the West African country next month to raise funds for children orphaned by the disease and people who survived it.
Cafferkey, who first went to Sierra Leone as part of a team of British volunteers at the Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre, has said her return trip will give her ‘closure in a positive way’.
The nurse fell ill with the disease after arriving back in the UK in December 2014. She recovered, but subsequently had a relapse and also developed meningitis, which seriously affected her joints and ability to walk.
She was also seen before the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) over misconduct charges, of which she was cleared. She now works as a health visitor support nurse in South Lanarkshire.
She told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme it would be ‘psychologically important for me to go back’ to Sierra Leone.
‘That’s where things started for me and I’ve had a terrible couple of years since then, so it’d be good to go back and have things come full circle for me.
‘It’ll be a little bit of closure, and I want to end it with something good, something positive.’
Cafferkey said she is returning to Sierra Leone – where Ebola has since been eradicated – to raise funds for UK charity Street Child, which provides shelter and education for street children and orphans.
An estimated 12,000 children were orphaned in Sierra Leone by the epidemic.
Cafferkey told the programme that she is ‘excited to go back’.
‘It’ll be great to see Sierra Leone in a different state, and also know that I might be able to help as well.’