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Nurse collecting donations in Stoke-on-Trent to treat patients during six months volunteering in Malawi

A nurse who grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, but now works at Great Ormond Street Hospital, is heading to the African country of Malawi for six months to volunteer in a healthcare facility.

As a student nurse, 27-year-old Jemma Berwick went out to volunteer in Ghana, but just days into her time there she contracted malaria.

Her experience and treatment, however, made her more determined to help vulnerable people in Africa, who struggle to access proper healthcare. 

Jemma undertook a diploma in tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene, along with her friend Abbie, so she would be able to diagnose and treat the diseases that affect people living in Africa.

They are now preparing to go to a healthcare facility in Cape MacClear, set up by a woman from Ireland whose son had died out there. 

Jemma said: "As soon as we finished the course we just wanted to go.

"We wanted to use our skills, we wanted to get out there and help do our bit.

"Its going to be extremely tough, but I have got the skills and I can help."

The Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic in Malawi gets no government support, and has to rely on volunteers and donations.

Before she travels there, Jemma is trying to collect items to take with her.

She said: "We are not looking for money, we are looking for medical supplies.

"Things like ear thermometers, blood glucose machines, or anything that a hospital provides here that they do not have out there.

"All this stuff is expensive, even something simple like flat lithium batteries. They are super expensive and unavailable.

"There is a great need for medical supplies."

A Hanley based charity, Saltbox, is allowing people to drop off donations at Bemersley House on Gitana Street, before Jemma sets off on 17 November.

There is more information about the mission here

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