Daughter pays tribute to mother-of-five nurse who died during outbreak

The daughter of a nurse who died after contracting Covid-19 has paid tribute to her “strong, beautiful and caring” mother.

Mother-of-five Josiane Zauma Ebonja Ekoli, an agency nurse at Harrogate District Hospital, died on Monday.

The 55-year-old, from Leeds, was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary, a hospital where she used to work, last Tuesday, and had been ill for around a week before that.

In a tribute, her daughter Naomie told the PA news agency she wanted her mother to be remembered as “God-fearing, strong, beautiful and caring”.

“It meant everything to be a nurse, she’s being doing it for as long as I remember, more than 30 years,” she said.

Josiane Zauma Ebonja Ekoli, an agency nurse at Harrogate District Hospital who died after contracting Covid-19
Josiane Zauma Ebonja Ekoli, an agency nurse at Harrogate District Hospital who died after contracting Covid-19 (Family handout/PA)

Naomie said her mother, who had worked on a coronavirus ward, called the provisions of personal protective equipment (PPE) available “poor”.

“If they don’t work, then we won’t be treated, so the least they could do is up the PPE so they can make sure it doesn’t happen to another family,” she said.

Jill Foster, chief nurse at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said Ms Ekoli, known as Josie, was a “much-valued” member of staff.

“Zauma Ekoli, known as Josie, was a much-valued agency nurse who has worked with the Trust for the past two years,” she said in a statement.

“She worked a range of shifts in a number of wards and departments.

“Josie will be sadly missed by all her friends and colleagues at Harrogate District Hospital and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.”

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