A FOURTH year medical student at Queen’s University Belfast, Ciara McCaffrey, is set to travel to Zambia for four weeks to work with a child health specialist charity.
The opportunity to work alongside i4Life, a child health specialist charity which works in low resource countries, came around as part of Ciara’s final year medical elective, on her journey to becoming a doctor.
She’s looking forward to the opportunity to help those living in Zambia, a country with a population of almost 19 and a half million people, which still remains one of the least developed places in Africa.
“I know that it will be a humbling, challenging, but all the same, rewarding experience.
“I am really looking forward to the trip and the learning opportunities to become of it,” Ciara told the Herald.
“We are travelling to Galway between University exams for pre-departure training which will help us to prepare for the trip and some of the experiences we are to encounter.”
Under the guidance of i4Life professionals, alongside two of her classmates, the Queen’s University student will be on the frontline in Lusaka, the largest city in Zambia.
“The primary care unit where we will be based treats 300 people per day and is based in a shanty town,” said Ciara, who also works at her family-run business, Erneside Furniture.
“We will also have the opportunity to travel with the team to Luangwa and Kafue and camp out in the bush for a week to help indigenous people, assess their needs and educate them about nutrition and health.”
The organisation which Ciara will be working alongside is aiming to build a child maternal health assessment room in the primary care clinic in Lusaka.
The estimated cost of development of the potentially life-saving facility is £5,000 and the Knockninny GAA player is set to embark on a highly challenging fundraiser to support i4Life in their mission.
“This (child maternal assessment room) will be used to accommodate patients, especially the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care of mothers and children,” explains the medical student.
“On June 19, myself, Tom (White) and Matthew (Sands), are taking part in a sponsored 7 Peak Challenge. We aim to complete the seven summits of the Mourne Mountains in one day to raise some money.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Ciara on her trip to Zambia and St Aidan’s High School recently presented their former student with a donation.
Ciara is overwhelmed and delighted with the support she has received from the local community.
“Providing healthcare, education and nutrition to children enables them to have a dignified, quality life into adulthood which can have lasting changes for generations.
“This is something I am privileged to be able to help with and experience,” said the fourth year student.
Donations can be made via Ciara’s i4Life fundraising page online.
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