A KIND-hearted woman is working to open health clinics across West Africa to help mums and young babies.

Anita Whiteley, 49, from Southend, is fundraising £50,000 for purchase of land and building the new facility.

The mum-of-five who is studying public health felt compelled to help after visiting sick babies in Sierra Leone.

She said: “I was born there and moved to the UK at the age of seven and I want to give something back to my place of birth.

“I have got family there and went to visit them twice last year and saw the lack of services and hospitals for premature babies and expectant mums.

“My cousin had a baby and it died a day after due to the lack of experience and knowledge from the doctors.

“The babies are dying and are malnourished and the nurses cannot help them.

“I was flabbergasted by the health provisions and situation with sick babies there.

“I want to build a number of health centres, but will start with one. I want to provide the mothers with free health care which is basic and something we take for granted.

“I am studying at Anglia Ruskin University and it has a competition called the big pitch and the winner gets £10,000, that would go a long way.”

The grandmother-of-one says she hopes to meet with health and Government ministers in the country on the project.

She said the health minister is on the board with the project.

She is also planning a number of fundraising events here and in Sierra Leone to fund the project.

The student said: “Some mums have to walk for nine hours to get medical help and I hope to give them the health care they need.”