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Midwife 'inspired' by trip to Nigeria

Local Newspaper - Gravesend Reporter continues to support Wish for Africa, weeks after Jo Watts visited Nigeria....

...Read on please.

Dr Femi Olaleye
Founder/CEO

08 July 2009

A MOTHER-OF-THREE who spent a month working in Nigeria, which has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, has returned from an 'inspiring' trip.

Midwife Jo Watts, of Milroy Avenue, Northfleet, spoke about her experience delivering babies in the most deprived parts of the country's capital, Lagos.

The 43-year-old returned home last week after advising staff and help deliver babies at the three Wish For Africa (WFA) clinics in the city.

Now back at work at Darent Valley hospital Mrs Watts is planning fundraising activities for WFA.

She said "It is very, very basic out there. There was often no electricity or running water at the clinics. Somebody donated a sonic aid, which we use to a baby's heart beat. It's standard practise here, but they can't afford them out there.

"There was one woman who had lost three babies and she came in because she was pregnant again. We used the sonic aid and she just started crying because she could hear her baby.

"Nigeria has so much potential, its people are hard working and bright. I felt saddened that it seems unless you have money, many consider your life almost valueless.

"There was such vast poverty even in the more affluent areas, far beyond what we see here in this country."

Mrs Watts took out items including medical equipment, clothes, toys, books and pens donated by friends, colleagues, Darent Valley hospital and Times readers.

She said: "We really have nothing to complain about in this country, but I can't tell that to the women who come in to have their babies at Darent Valley!"

Mrs Watts, who is the first white midwife to work in the WFA clinics in the country, said: "The staff at Mafoluku were a bit wary of me at first. But we did a breast cancer awareness campaign in the town and we bonded over that and at the end of the month they threw me a party and we became good friends."

She added: "I am looking forward to going back and building on these relationships."

Mrs Watts is organising Walk 4 Wish, a sponsored walk on August 15 in Thamesmead, to raise money for WFA.

For further details call Jo on 07810822259 or visit www.wish forafrica.org.

A friend of Mrs Watts, Ola Olu, won the chance to stand on a plinth in Trafalgar Square and will dedicate his hour, from 1pm to 2pm on August 12, to WFA.

Visit www.jowatts.blogspot.com for a full daily dairy of Mrs Watt's trip.

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