James in New Year mission to help stop spread of Ebola

HELP: James Maguire (first right) is pictured with his colleagues: from left, porter Dino Calamela, engineer David Connelly and Mark Egan

HELP: James Maguire (first right) is pictured with his colleagues: from left, porter Dino Calamela, engineer David Connelly and Mark Egan

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A dad-of-two from Fulwood is preparing to head out to Africa to help in the fight against ebola.

Thirty-nine-year-old James Maguire, who is head of estates at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, will be taking a mortuary fridges and medical equipment with him.

The equipment which is no longer up to current specification in the UK and could not be reused in any modern acute unit, but is still vastly superior to anything available in the eastern province of Ghana.

The equipment will be used to help safely store deceased patients, an important act, as it can often take up to nine months for the dead to be buried - exposing more people to infectious diseases.

James will plan and design the new mortuary and help develop local management skills. He is likely to also be involved in installing the equipment.

He was approached witht he idea by Mark Egan, project leader and surgical pathologist, based in Newcastle.

James said: “The plans for our old mortuary was for it to be demolished and the contents to be scrapped. When I got the call from Mark and he asked if he could take our old equipment we thought it would be a great use for it.

“I’m feeling nervous and excited about the trip but I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, it’s certainly going to be a challenge working in such a different culture and environment.

“I’m very apprehensive about some of the things I will see and encounter but this is something I must appreciate. I have had numerous injections including yellow fever and made sure my polio is up to date as this is only around 500 miles away from where I will be staying.

“We are hopeful ebola won’t have reached our region but are prepared for it if it does.”