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Retired fisherman and his niece team up to send life-saving Raigmore Hospital gear to Africa


By Alasdair Fraser

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Packing up equipment and supplies for delivery to Uganda.
Packing up equipment and supplies for delivery to Uganda.

A Raigmore Hospital sonographer and her retired fishing boat skipper uncle have teamed up to ship vital life-saving equipment to an impoverished African nation.

Jocelyn Reid (45), a lead midwife and consultant at the Inverness hospital, worked with the charity Oor Bairns to secure safe passage of three ultrasound scanners to Uganda to help pregnant women.

Oor Bairns is a solo-run charity through which Fraserburgh-based fisherman William Whyte (75), has helped poor people at home and abroad since retiring from a life on the seas 15 years ago.

Each piece of obstetrics equipment sent was worth between £80,000 to £120,000.

Previously, in 2018, Mr Whyte helped his niece travel to Ghana to train up staff in the Volta region to use two ultrasound machines they took with them.

He also funded the latest despatch to Nakasongola in Uganda by commissioning flights, while providing handmade wooden boxes to protect the medical equipment during flights.

Jocelyn Reid (left) with fellow sonographer Aileen Paterson, who previously travelled together to Ghana to train up medical staff to use the scanners.
Jocelyn Reid (left) with fellow sonographer Aileen Paterson, who previously travelled together to Ghana to train up medical staff to use the scanners.

The equipment, while past its use-by date in the UK, is badly needed in what is one of the world’s poorest countries and can make all the difference in life and death decisions during pregnancy and childbirth.

Oor Bairns has also replenished many food banks in the north-east and specialises in recycling old nylon fishing nets into clothing to help poor communities in eastern Europe and other parts of the world.

Ms Reid said: “William has already done a mountain of good work for the region of Nakasongola, helping build a school and a scan suite for medical workers.

Some of Raigmore Hospital’s shipment to Uganda.
Some of Raigmore Hospital’s shipment to Uganda.

“Obviously, he is family, but I have genuinely never met such an amazing man, so dedicated and selfless in helping others. These scanners enable medical staff over there to diagnose ectopic pregnancies and save lives, as does proper training. That is all down to William.”


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