A nurse from Craigavon Area Hospital who gave up her summer holidays to work with vulnerable people in Uganda has described the experience as “meaningful and fulfilling”.
Millie Jackson, who works for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, spent three weeks in the African country with local charity Fields of Life.
Just over a year ago Millie had been invited to an interview with the charity and was offered the opportunity to travel to Uganda to help those in need – an opportunity she grabbed with both hands.
The Annaghmore woman spent eight months preparing for the trip, atending training and weekly meetings,
She said, “I found it so rewarding to have been able to use my skills in some way to help those less privileged than we are.
“We carried out such a wide range of tasks – we provided health care, offered sexual education and organised care for unwanted babies.
““I spent a bit of time working at a hospital, helping all departments deal with their heavy daily pressures - an experience that helped me appreciate the standards of treatment and facilities we have in Northern Ireland.
“The circumstances were often trying - working in high temperatures, without the usual home comforts and adopting a new culture, but I feel dealing with all those factors will help me progress in my own role at home.”
This wasn’t the first time Millie offered her assistance in Africa - she travelled to Kenya just over 25 years ago on a similar project, and she hopes that her trip to Uganda won’t be her last voluntary adventure.
“I plan on returning when I get the opportunity,” she said. “It’s so satisfying when you see how a short space of time out of your own schedule can have such a massive impact on so many people’s lives.”
Anne McVey, assistant director of integrated maternity and women’s health, paid tribute to Millie. “By giving up her own time and sharing her skills to help the people of Uganda she has shown great dedication and compassion as a nurse,” she said.
“I am sure she will always draw on this experience in her work and will have lots to share with her colleagues.”
Fields of Life is committed to bringing positive change through the provision of quality education, clean water, health promotion and other community based projects throughout East Africa.