AN AYRSHIRE nurse has flown to Africa to help save the lives of poverty-stricken villagers.

Joy Murdoch travelled to Burundi to teach basic healthcare to villagers in a bid to reduce mum and baby deaths.

Joy, who is an advanced neonatal nurse at Crosshouse Hospital’s Ayrshire Maternity Unit, visited three different provinces, Makamba, Rutana and Cankuso, during her trip taking donations of clothing, wellies and first aid kits she had gathered at home in Ayrshire.

She said: “My remit was to teach basic health care in a country where the average life expectancy is 58 and with extremely high maternal and neonatal and infant death.

“The prevalent diseases are tuberculosis, hepatitis A and B, HIV, malaria with poor hygiene and malnutrition being major factors. The infrastructure in the country is mainly non existent- no sewage system, water system, little industry and mostly subsistence living meaning there are lots of widows and orphans.”

Joy flew out with Dundee-based charity Mission International, who focus on trying to improve the lives of impoverished people around the globe.

As well as her invaluable knowledge, Joy also took suitcases full of donated clothing for babies, kids and adults which she had collected before she left Scotland.

Joy also raised money to buy wellies and first aid kits for the community workers she had already trained on a previous trip.

She said: “I had raised money to buy Wellies and first aid kits for the 30 community workers I had previously trained. My cases were overweight with generous donations of children, baby and adult clothes too. All given by friends, family, work colleagues and church.

“I taught hand hygiene, which is number one priority but difficult when they can’t afford soap as well as transmission of diseases; first aid; nutrition; family planning; newborn resuscitation and problems of pregnancy.

“I saw firsthand the new maternity building now in use at Nyembuye where I taught three years ago.

“It was good to see different areas of the country and meet some inspiring folk living in the most hardest of circumstances - no NHS here, no social security and very few jobs.