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Five Red Cross aid workers awarded Florence Nightingale Medals

Tuesday 16 May 2017

A record five Australian Red Cross aid workers have been awarded Florence Nightingale Medals, the highest international distinction a nurse can receive.

"The Florence Nightingale Medals awarded to our Red Cross aid workers - Anne Carey, Barbara McMaster, Catherine Salmon, Cathy Fry and Ruth Jebb - honour exceptional courage and devotion to the victims of armed conflict or natural disaster," said Peter Walton, Director, International at Australian Red Cross.

"This medal also recognises exemplary service or a creative and pioneering spirit in the areas of public health or nursing education.

"Our Australian Red Cross nurses have played a critical role in responding to some of the world's biggest emergencies.

"From South Sudan to Afghanistan, Yemen to Sierra Leone, they have helped children survive horrific injuries caused by weapons, cared for patients suffering with Ebola and saved lives with education on hygiene and disease prevention. They're colleagues or mentors to local health workers, often working under difficult and dangerous conditions."

"I want to recognise all nurses from every country who work so tirelessly to help people who otherwise may not receive the life-saving health care they need to survive and in some of the poorest countries in the world. These nurses show compassion and courage that humbles us all," Mr Walton Said.

Anne Carey is a nurse who helped in the Red Cross response to contain the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. She has also worked in Darfur, Sudan and in a refugee camp on the Sudan/Kenya border.

Barbara McMaster and Catherine Salmon have both worked as a surgical and head nurse providing critical care in some of the world's toughest armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Sudan and Yemen.

After a career in remote area nursing around Australia, Catherine Fry coordinated the delivery of health care in Darfur, Sudan for children and mothers. On top of providing access to health care across frontlines, Catherine also played a critical teaching role in her missions, including in Liberia, Uganda and Afghanistan.

Ruth Jebb has coordinated a feeding clinic for thousands of malnourished children in Sudan and provided midwifery and intensive care in Cambodia and Chad, along with disaster relief after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Most recently, Ruth helped tend to the wounded and sick after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes.

Recipients for the Florence Nightingale award are selected by the International Council of Nurses, International Committee the Red Cross, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

All media enquiries, please contact Antony Balmain, 0408 018 609 or email 

Interviews can be organised with the Red Cross aid workers, who are recipients of the Medals.

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