Scots doctor offers clinical care in Africa

A SCOTS volunteer has told how she helps deliver life-saving vaccinations to children in the world's poorest countries.

VSO volunteer Dr Shona Johnston assists staff in the crowded wards of the Ola During Children's Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where the nation's most desperately ill children are sent for treatment.

The 31-year-old has seen the benefit of the government's commitment to provide free healthcare and vaccination during her stint in the capital city's east end - a world away from her roots in Lerwick, in the Shetland Islands.

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She stressed how important funds would be to mothers and children in Sierra Leone to provide vaccines we in the UK take for granted.

The paediatrician, whose family lives in Oxford, said her eight months in Sierra Leone had been the hardest but most rewarding of her life.

She said: "Most of the children who are admitted here have infectious diseases, in particular malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoeal infections. There are also some who are malnourished and who have tuberculosis."

Dr Johnston divides her time between providing clinical care for the children and training Sierra Leonean medical students who are about to graduate.