Mercy mission for Vic doctor

Dr Matt Prior (below) has been in Liberia helping to treat sick children.
Dr Matt Prior (below) has been in Liberia helping to treat sick children.
Have your say

A MATERNITY doctor has become an ambassador trying to help sick children after visiting poverty-stricken Liberia.

Dr Matt Prior works at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and snapped up the chance to travel to the West African country to see how treatment of children differs from western practices.

Dr Matt Prior

Dr Matt Prior

The result, he said, was shocking.

Dr Prior added: “I spent a week looking at the heath care system in Liberia and saw lots of quite shocking things to begin with.

“They have a malnutrition ward where there are children with preventable illnesses like chest infections and diarrhoea because they are so malnourished. The hospitals have medication and clean water to threat them, but actually a lot of underlying problems are that parents don’t know what to feed their children, or they cannot afford to.”

Dr Prior, 28, said in Liberia one on 10 children would not reach the age of 10, and pregnant women had a 25 per cent chance of dying in childbirth.

He added: “There is one doctor for every 4,000 people, whereas here we have one doctor for every 50 patients.”

But Dr Prior, who spent time looking around Save The Children projects, said there was a more positive side to his trip.

He added: “One of the big things they are trying to push over there is encouraging mothers to breast feed their babies as there really is no alternative for it.

“Even though it may sound attractive to go and work in Africa or somewhere like it, the main message Save The Children wants to make is to help create a more sustainable system where local health care workers are able to do this themselves and improve pay conditions so doctors in Liberia want to stay there, rather than move overseas.

“If it wasn’t for the money brought into Liberia because of charities like Save the Children, a lot of children definitely would have died.

“If people in developed countries like ours continue to support those in severe poverty, we can help move them from being an under-developed country to a middle-income country by 2030.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.