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Four Australian nurses receive Florence Nightingale Award for exceptional courage

Australian aid workers Amanda McClelland, Libby Bowell, Nola Henry and Kerry Page are among the recipients of nursing's highest accolade in 2015.

Monday May 18, 2015

Amanda McClelland
Amanda McClelland at the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone. Photo: Tommy Trenchard

The Florence Nightingale Award recognises exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or a natural disaster. It also recognises exemplary service or a pioneering spirit in public health or nursing education.  

Four Australians were among the 36 recipients of this year's award.  

Amanda McClelland is a senior health advisor whose most recent work involved leading the Red Cross response to the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. She also helped develop a data sampling methodology and tools to rapidly collect information in an health emergency.  

Libby Bowell is an outstanding advocate for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement . Her work has ranged from responding to cholera outbreaks in South Sudan, to disaster relief after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and, most recently, public health strategies to contain the spread of Ebola in Liberia.  

Kerry Page and Nola Henry have both served with the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Sudan. Both worked as part of mobile surgical teams that provide emergency care to people wounded in armed combat.  

The full list of award recipients includes nurses from China, Austria, Canada, Finland, Iran, Lebanon, Japan, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Thailand and the United States.  

Australian Red Cross couldn't be prouder of its aid workers.  

"Australian nurses played an important role in responding to the world's worst health crises," said Peter Walton, Head of International Programs.  

"They supported local health workers on the frontline: whether caring for patients with Ebola, treating horrific injuries from weapons, or saving lives through critical information on hygiene and disease prevention.  

"This year I also want to recognise every nurse  from every country who joined the fight against Ebola in West Africa. Some of them did so at the cost of their own lives, showing courage and compassion that humbles us all."  

Recipients for the Florence Nightingale award are nominated by Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from around the world. The final selection is made by the International Committee the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Council of Nurses.

Listen:  Amanda McClelland talks about responding to Ebola in our new podcast, How Aid Works