Blackpool Victoria Hospital nurse raising funds to help Zambia hospital

Elaine Simper with one of her knitted unicorns.'Elaine, who works in the Surgical Admissions Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, is travelling to Zambia later this year to share her skills in a mission hospital in the country.
Elaine Simper with one of her knitted unicorns.'Elaine, who works in the Surgical Admissions Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, is travelling to Zambia later this year to share her skills in a mission hospital in the country.
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A Blackpool nurse is preparing for the trip of a lifetime helping out in the developing world.

Elaine Simper, who works in the Surgical Admissions Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, is travelling to Zambia later this year to share her skills in a mission hospital in the country.

As well as hoping to gain a unique insight into what life is like for a nurse in Africa, the mum-of-one is also raising money to buy a piece of important equipment to help staff and patients.

Elaine, 45, said: “I’ll be part of a small team travelling to the Luampa Mission Hospital in Zambia. It serves a community of 49,000 people who live in the surrounding small villages, where transport to the hospital is predominantly walking. The hospital officially has 58 beds and in the malaria season patients sleep on mattresses or on the floor.

“It lies 18km from the main road, down a sandy track. There is no running water to the hospital, the supply is from a pump in the grounds. Mains electricity was installed in late 2017, but is intermittent and unreliable providing many challenges for life-saving and ongoing patient care.

“I’ll join staff and community teams to support their work in and around the hospital, sharing my skills and knowledge.

“I have always wanted to do something like this and am really looking forward to it. I always wanted to be able to share my skills as a nurse and I heard about this opportunity through my church and it just felt right.

“Healthcare in Africa is obviously very different and I have to be prepared for that, but if I can help anybody in any way while I am there that will be a great comfort to me.”

Elaine, who has been a nurse since 2003, is looking to raise £1,800 for a piece of medical equipment called an oxygen concentrator which will be a valuable asset for the hospital.

She said: “I know the hospital I am going to would really benefit from this piece of kit and I want to do my best to raise enough money to buy one.

“One of the things I am doing is knitting unicorns and selling them for £5. They are very popular at the moment.”

To help Elaine, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/elaine-simper