Staff from NHS Grampian have been sharing their knowledge with an African country to help provide clean, safe births and improved maternal care.

Gary Mortimer, director of acute services, visited Ethiopia as part of the Soapbox Collaborative – a charity which provides low-cost interventions in a bid to combat child mortality.

During the seven-day trip he helped provide running water and electricity to the Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital as they work to improve care at the facility which is located Bahir Dar, in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia.

Gary said: “Our primary focus was on providing some immediate fixes to faulty equipment, providing training to the local maintenance team and providing basic policies and operating procedures to allow them to sustain maintenance on an ongoing basis.”

Felege Hiwot is a busy referral hospital and serves a population larger than Scotland with approximately seven million people.

Gary added: “Being in Ethiopia you truly see the gulf in care and realise just how advanced we are in this country.

“The hospital I was working in was smaller than Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, yet served a population the size of Scotland and millions of people. Very few people have transport too, so many would walk for days to the hospital for treatment. But people always had a smile on their faces.”

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons is now calling on the Scottish Government to recognise the benefits of international volunteering opportunities for all health service workers in Scotland.

Mike McKirdy, director of Global Health at the Royal College, said while NHS service remains the priority, it’s important to see the future benefits of international work.