Liberian Red Cross and IFRC health workers at the launch of the Red Cross's Community-Based Protection Program in Kollies Town, Montserrado County. Liberia, to help contain the spread of Ebola in isolated communities.
Liberian Red Cross and IFRC health workers at the launch of the Red Cross's Community-Based Protection Program in Kollies Town, Montserrado County. Liberia, to help contain the spread of Ebola in isolated communities. Victor Lacken / IFRC

Carer devoted to easing the suffering of others

IT IS fitting that as Elizabeth (Libby) Bowell's Medal of the Order of Australia is announced today, she's working in Wadeye, a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory.

She has devoted her life to service to others - in hospital emergency departments and intensive care wards, at crisis points all over the globe and in communities in the most remote corner of Australia.

She was nominated for her services to nursing, and to international natural disaster healthcare assistance, that she was nominated for the award.

Her work has taken her on 23 international missions, many to some of the poorest places on earth - Liberia, Sierra Leone, Haiti -at their unluckiest times, following earthquakes, floods or outbreak of disease.

Ms Bowell trained at the Mater in Newcastle, and quickly discovered she loved the emergency side of things.

She went to the Royal Newcastle and joined the John Hunter Hospital in 1990 as nursing manager.

Friends working in the Territory lured her there in 1996 and she has loved the work ever since, breaking it up with deployments to overseas trouble spots, as a casual contractor, usually working for the Red Cross.

"I'm just doing what a lot of other people are doing," she says, and compares her work to that of her father, who received the award last year.



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