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Student Doctor Evacuates Leer with MSF

Student Doctor Evacuates Leer with MSF

*The following blog was written by one of Gua Africa's student doctors. This report details his experiences working with Medecins Sans Frontieres in South Sudan. Please note the comments below are entirely the opinions of the student and do not reflect Gua Africa's.*

Written by: Matthew

First and foremost I would like to thank Gua Africa for their kind support they have bestowed upon me since 2008. This year they coordinated my journey to Leer with an intention to practise my skills and knowledge which I had acquired in the field of health science and clinical medicine.

Leer is my home town, where I was born and I felt lots of excitement when I landed in Leer ready to start my work assignment at the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) clinic. MSF offered me a contract for 12 months which would have run up to March 2016. I enjoyed working with the MSF team which was a mix of both expatriots and South Sudanese nationals.

I worked in the Outpatients Department for the first 3 weeks. After that I was given a task to work as Charge Clinical Officer, where I had to approve all Inpatient Admissions. After the fourth week I was taken to the Inpatient Department where I worked within the ward doing follow ups and admissions together with the Ward Rounds. I even went out into the countryside each Tuesday to give medication to people unable to reach the clinic.

In mid-April the security concerns rose and soon after MSF began to organise reducing the team in Leer. On 6th May the situation became too unsafe and I, along with the entire MSF staff were evacuated to Lokichoggio, Kenya.

Emotions were high among the MSF staff. It was painful leaving the vulnerable people who were really in dire need of medication. The most painful thing for me was having to leave my own family in Leer. We were all filled with so much sympathy but we could not change the situation. I wholeheartedbly felt embarrassed but I had a chance to be safe and my family told me to take it. I won't stop having hope that one day life in South Sudan will change.

It took 3 weeks once we were in Lokichoggio for the last projects in Leer to be shut down with a promise to call back the team as soon as the situation improved. I personally felt sad as I was so looking forward to having a great opportunity of working with such a prestigious organisation as MSF for one year.

Nethertheless, I decided to go to Kakuma Refugee Camp (near Lokichoggio) where I am now, volunteering with the International Red Cross (IRC). I will remain here for a while before either returning to Leer with MSF ro returning to Naurobi to continue my studies.

Thanks for reading my blog post and thank you for supporting Gua Africa.