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Students to work in Aids hospice

Five Queen’s University pharmacy students have volunteered for their most harrowing assignment yet — working in a South African HIV/Aids hospice.

Jonathon Clarke and John Hennesey from north Belfast, Gareth Peeples from Magherafelt, Oonagh Diamond from Limavady and Paula Savage from Downpatrick have signed up for the challenge and will travel to the country in June. They will bring medical aid and support to patients and spread awareness of what has become an under-reported illness.

The students were recently given a cash boost from the Queen’s Annual Fund, which provides money for projects aimed at enriching students’ experience of university.

During their time at the Khanya Aids Hospice, located in Umkomaas, Durban, students will offer medication counselling to ensure patients know how to take their medicine and help the nurses carry equipment to townships.

But, as South Africa-born Jonathon Clarke explained, they will face some tough challenges: “Witch doctors still hold a position of responsibility in the community. When they return home they no longer take ‘white man’s medication’ and the disease progresses.”

The students are raising funds for the project. Donations can be made via: www.mycharitypage. com/QUBPharmacyStudent.

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