A nurse from Weston-Super-Mare has been awarded the Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa. Malcolm Chalk travelled to Sierra Leone from the 7 December to the 11 January to work in a hospital built by the UK Army and run by Save the Children.“It felt great to receive the medal," said Malcolm, who works as a nursing practitioner in the emergency department at Western Area Health NHS Trust as well as a primary care nurse
at Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust. "I’m the first person in my family to get a medal since my granddad, who was awarded medals for service during the First World War.”
Malcolm had answered a call for nurses from NHS England on behalf of the Department for International Development. He undertook a week’s training before flying out to care for patients suffering from the deadly disease.
“I was nervous at first, but soon got used to it; I was cannulating patients every day and had to remind myself not to get too complacent," Malcolm continued. "Working with Ebola patients was a life-changing experience. We are so lucky over here. Over there people have nothing; there is abject poverty. A lot of doctors and nurses at the local hospital died because they just didn’t have the equipment to protect themselves. They were totally reliant on international aid – if the Government hadn’t sent people to sort the problem I don’t know what would have happened.”
Responding to news that Malcolm had been awarded the prestigious service medal, RCN South West regional director Jeannett Martin said: "We are immensely proud of Malcolm, who is one of our RCN representatives in the South West region. He was incredibly brave to risk his life to be part of helping fellow human beings to recover from such a dangerous disease. It is completely in keeping with his character that he should have done something so selfless as to volunteer in Sierra Leone.”
Read Malcolm's blog, written on his first day working at the Ebola Treatment Centre.