Two accident and emergency nurses are to swap their duties at Western Isles Hospital for a floating clinic in East Africa this month.

Rachel Macleod from Stornoway and Christine Macaulay from Shawbost will be taking annual leave and spending money they have raised themselves to fund a fortnight aboard a ship that takes healthcare to remote villages in Tanzania. They’ll use their skills to deliver medical attention to isolated, vulnerable communities alongside a small team of other health professionals from all over the UK.

The Jubilee Hope is one of two ships operated by the medical care charity the Vine Trust, taking medical and dental care to shoreside villages on Lake Victoria. The 160-ton former Royal Navy tender was refitted for purpose and launched by HRH The Princess Royal in 2015. Since then she has served an estimated 450,000 people who have little or no access to medical care.

Rachel and Christine will board Jubilee Hope on November 25th and, after just a day of acclimatisation, will spend two weeks as part of a team of six health professionals dealing with everything from HIV to maternity care. The team will include doctors and will work from the floating clinic, which includes treatment rooms, a pharmacy and a minor surgery room.

Christine told welovestornoway.com: “Neither of us have ever done anything like this before, and the furthest I’ve ever travelled is to holiday resorts, but fortunately there’s a theatre nurse working at Western Isles Hospital, Lesley Sangster, who has been on the same trip and has been able to give us some insight.

“We’ve had to raise the funds to travel ourselves and there’s also a contribution made to the Vine Trust to support their work. We set ourselves a target of £2,000 and I’m pleased to say we’ve well exceeded that, but all the surplus we raise will go to support them in continuing to provide an excellent service delivering healthcare to rural communities.”

In fact, over £5,300 has been raised with soup and pudding lunches, bake sales, a raffle and sterling efforts from Christine’s church in Shawbost, where £500 was raised. Christine also did a skydive which raised £700 towards the total.

The duo are now getting ready to depart, but welcome any further donations at https://www.vinetrust.org/fundraising/page/tanzania-medical-expidition-5cfa7783e4cbe9.46288875

Pictures show Rachel (left) and Christine in A&E at Stornoway, and the queue for the health centre on the banks of Lake Victoria during a previous expedition (The Vine Trust).