An Army medic from Burnley will spend Christmas in Sierra Leone where she will be helping victims of the deadly ebola outbreak.
Major Kath Higgins, a reservist with 207 Field Hospital, is part of a British Army medical contingent going out to the West African country where she will spend two months. The 51-year, who in civilian life is head of Southport and Ormskirk Surgery, said she was looking forward to the challenge.
“Tackling, controlling and helping people affected by the ebola virus is a job that needs to be done.
“Obviously, it will be difficult being away from family and home at Christmas but I spent Christmas Day of 2010 in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, so it’s not new to me. We’re doing a really worthwhile job going out there and supporting the Sierra Leone services to manage the outbreak.”
Married to Andrew, himself a reservist in the Army, the keen walkers moved to Burnley some years ago to take advantage of the surrounding countryside.
Major Higgins added: “Andrew is quite jealous I’m going out there.
“He would like to join me. It’s the type of stuff that gets the blood in the veins going. He was actually one of the last to leave Camp Bastion in October.”
During her two-month stay, Major Higgins will be helping to look after healthcare workers – British, foreign and local – who have caught the disease or are suspected to have caught the disease.
She added: “I’m not nervous, I have experience of nursing for more than 30 years. I’m confident we will be very well equipped to do the job.”
Major Higgins first joined the Army when she was 17 and left when she was 22 to raise a family.
“I’m sure we will be having our Christmas meal in a tent somewhere, which should be quite different from Afghanistan. I remember being at Midnight Mass when there were missiles flying overhead.”