TIME Magazine Person of the Year 2014 is the Ebola fighters: Kent Brantly says his experience was 'opportunity for redemption'

(Photo: TIME)

The brave ambulance drivers, caregivers, healthcare workers, nurses, and doctors who are responding to the current Ebola outbreak have been honoured as Time Magazine's 2014 Person of the Year.

Time's managing editor Nancy Gibbs explained the magazine's choice in an article in which she wrote, "The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, and 'us' means everyone, not just those in faraway places where this is one threat among many that claim lives every day.

"The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight.

"For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME's 2014 Person of the Year."

Gibbs identified specific groups and people who are in the forefront in the fight against Ebola. She named the special forces of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the medical relief workers of Samaritan's Purse.

Foday Gallah, the ambulance driver who survived infection, was one of those to appear on one of the five covers of Time Magazine's Person of the Year issue.

The magazine also recognised Dr Kent Brantly, the Samaritan's Purse doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia and recovered after receiving the experimental drug ZMapp.

In Gibbs' article, Dr Brantly is quoted as saying, "[Whenever] we go through a devastating experience like what I've been through, it is an incredible opportunity for redemption of something. We can say, 'How can I be better now because of what I've been through?' To not do that is kind of a shame."

The Ebola virus, which first struck Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and later reached other countries including the United States, has now claimed over 6,000 lives and has left more than 17,000 people infected. The staggering amount of victims has made the present Ebola outbreak the largest in history.