TWO MIDWIVES are preparing to leave the maternity wards at Lagan Valley Hospital to share their skills and training with staff at a hospital in Uganda.
Lisa Megarry and Cathy Bell, who have self funded their trip, have been holding book sales at the Lagan Valley to raise money for much needed equipment at the Kiwoko hospital.
Kiwoko was set up in I988 by a doctor from Bangor and his family in the aftermath of the Ugandan civil war and is now a 250 bed community hospital. Several years ago the South East Trust, of which Lagan Valley is part, nominated Kiwoko hospital as the 'Chairman's Charity' for the year.
Lisa, from Ruskin Heights, has already spent three months at Kiwoko hospital in 2008 and enjoyed the experience so much that she always wanted to return.
This time her friend and colleague Cathy will be going along too.
Lisa explained: "I got so much out of the trip and always wanted to go back. We were very well received by the women over there. Their expectations are a lot lower and they are very accepting. They will put on their best clothes and will walk miles for an ante natal appointment which might be underneath a tree.
"Because there are so many large families they accept that child birth will be painful and that a child may die at birth. It's very different to life here."
Cathy, who lives in Dollingstown, said she had wanted to go to the hospital before but due to family commitments had never got the chance.
"Lisa only told me that she was going at the end of December and this time I am able to join her" she said.
"It will be a new experience for me. From what Lisa has told me I am really looking forward to it. Babies are still the same whether it is here or in Uganda, it is just a different way. of life."
The two women say they are grateful to the maternity team at Lagan Valley Hospital.
"The team that we work with are very good," said Lisa. "We would not be able to go without their help and support. Some of the team at the maternity ward have to do extra shifts to allow both of us to go so we are truly thankful for that. We work with a very good bunch of people and we really appreciate their support."
The women are holding a book sale on March I9 at the foyer of the Lagan Valley Hospital. All donations will go towards the Kiwoko Hospital.