A DOCTOR and his family are giving up life in Dorset to teach medicine in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Millner family from Dorchester will move to Mozambique in October to live for two years.

Chris Millner, 52, is a senior partner at the Prince of Wales practice in Poundbury and has lived in Dorchester since 1984.

Accompanied by his wife Ruth, 50, and nine-year-old son Caleb, he will be working as a doctor in Beira helping to train young doctors and nurses.

Dr Millner has been given a leave of absence from the surgery for two years and his position will be covered by locums until his return.

The family has been to the country several times to help with training and clinics but always wanted to return.

Dr Millner said: “We have been thinking of going for a while and it was always in our hearts to go.”

He added: “One of my old bosses from Ipswich, John Day, went across and had a bit of a think.

“There was only one medical school and they trained 60 doctors a year, who weren’t being replaced.

“John got together with other consultants and got involved with the Catholic university in Beira and started training doctors in 2000.”

Mozambique has suffered from prolonged periods of war and suffered extensive flooding in 2002.

Due to short life expectancy and emigration of trained doctors to Western countries like the UK and US, the number of doctors dropped dramatically from 1960 to 2000.

Currently there are two doctors to 100,000 people in Mozambique. In the UK there are two per thousand.

Dr Millner said: “By training more doctors and nurses who will remain in the country we can make a lasting improvement to the health and life expectancy of these amazing people. Having grown up under the NHS most of us have no idea what it might be like to be unable to afford any kind of health care, or even to find a doctor.

“This is our chance to put a bit back.”

The family will be living in Beira.

They are taking part on a three-day course to learn about living in Mozambique.

One challenge to the family could be the language barrier as the national language is Portuguese.

Dr Millner said: “I need to learn enough to teach medicine by October.

“It’s coming along slowly, but we have the basics and we are working on that at the moment.”

He added: “We are looking forward to making a difference and helping to change the infrastructure of the county.

“It’s tremendous to feel you’re part of a process to help a country to go in the right direction.”