Suffolk nurse heading into Africa

A SUFFOLK nurse is hoping for an African adventure as she sets of on a mission to help provide care in Uganda.

A SUFFOLK nurse is hoping for an African adventure as she sets of on a mission to help provide care in Uganda.

Stacey-Anne Penny will take a year off from her post as lead of the Woodbridge Local Healthcare Community Team, which provides services such as district nursing, physiotherapy and home support, to fly out to Kampala, in the central African country, on June 19.

The 43-year-old will spend two months nursing at a major hospital to gain Ugandan registration before moving to the 100-bed Case Medical Centre, where she will work as senior nursing manager, helping to treat patients and teach other medics.

“I feel extremely excited, lucky and privileged to get this opportunity, which will be a great experience and an enormous challenge,” said Miss Penny, who is completing the placement with Voluntary Services Overseas and has been given the time off by her bosses at Suffolk Community Healthcare.

“I love adventure and I love travel, and have always wanted to do something which would make a difference to others. Above all, I decided that if I didn't do it now, I never would.

“I'm sure that the differences in the health services we enjoy here in the UK and those provided in Uganda will be a real eye-opener, but I'm ready for the challenge and can't wait to get started.”

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The Case Medical Centre is a private hospital, but also has a social focus on orphaned children.

“I've already spoken to some of the other volunteers in the area, and they've told me that Uganda is a very beautiful country, that the city is vibrant and the social life is good,” she added. “So all in all I'm really excited about the challenge, and extremely grateful to Suffolk Community Healthcare for allowing me to take up this great opportunity while also holding my post open for my return.”

Voluntary Services Overseas stations around 1,500 volunteers around the globe at any one time, operating in around 35 countries. Although part funded by the government, the organisation relies heavily on charitable donations - and Miss Penny is keen to raise as much as she can before she leaves the UK via her website: www.justgiving.com/staceyannepenny.

Are you taking on a challenge? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.