Kiwi nurse awarded highest honour for aid work

Nurse Janet Askew, centre, who has been honoured for her aid work. Photo / Supplied
Nurse Janet Askew, centre, who has been honoured for her aid work. Photo / Supplied

A New Zealand nurse has been awarded the highest international honour for nurses, the Florence Nightingale Medal.

Gisborne nurse Janet Askew has been awarded the medal by the International Committee of the Red Cross for her work on aid missions in Sudan, Indonesia and Iraq.

New Zealand Red Cross secretary general Andrew McKie said the medal recognised Ms Askew's outstanding commitment and devotion to duty.

"Janet has exemplified the personal qualities of courage and bravery many times during her career," he said.

Ms Askew's first overseas mission with Red Cross was to Sudan in 2003 as a health aid worker.

In 2004-2005 she worked in Indonesia in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami, which was followed by missions to Sudan in 2007-2008, Iraq in 2009-2010, and Sudan again in 2010-2012.

She leaves for Lebanon next month on her sixth Red Cross mission.

Ms Askew has also worked as a clinical nurse consultant in the Torres Strait, Northern Australia.

She received the New Zealand Special Service Medal in 2006 for her work following the Tsunami, the New Zealand Operational Service Medal 2002 (awarded in 2010), and New Zealand General Service Medal for Iraq 2002 (awarded in 2010).

She now works for the Cancer Society.

The Florence Nightingale Medal honours exceptional courage and devotion shown to the victims of armed conflict or natural disaster.

It also recognises exemplary services and pioneering spirit in public health and nursing education.

This year 32 aid workers throughout the world will receive the Florence Nightingale Medal. Ms Askew is the 26th New Zealander to receive the award.

- APNZ

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