Damien Timms - Infection and disease

Running time
1 min 50 sec
Department of Veterans' Affairs


There was at the hospital, just infection and disease was always there, the dead heart of Africa was rife. So AIDS, we're talking the '90s when it was the biggest threat to the world because people didn't know what it was. You would actually go into the AIDS ward and you would see three people in one bed, skinny and they're basically on palliative care. We were doing one of the outer patrols and I just remember you'd get these updates or reports over the radio and the message was, 'There's a suspect case of Ebola at a village just over the border'. I reckon after hearing that in about two seconds, I seen the fastest U-turn in history.

The vehicles were like, "Hey we're not going up near there. Let's just get out of here." Even cholera in the camps, that was basically a water borne disease, once you get it basically people are gone from that. I got two bouts of malaria over there. But in saying that, I didn't know I had malaria at all until I went to East Timor and got Dengue fever. When they did blood test they said, "Hey, you've actually got these two bits of malaria." I think there's five in the world. I've got three of them. But to be honest it hasn't affected me yet. Knock on wood. But Dengue fever is something else.

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