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Our job is to support primary healthcare for vulnerable populations, especially refugees. According to the UNHCR, there are more than 1 million refugees in Lebanon. We help ensure they have access to healthcare and medication.
One of the places I work is in the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, known as Ein el Helweh. Located near the city of Sidon, tens of thousands of refugees live in the camp. Here, our work involves what’s called strengthening casualty chains. This includes first aid training and supplying emergency equipment to hospitals. We also assess people who have been wounded by weapons and, if needed, refer them to the Weapon Traumatology Training Centre, a hospital run by Red Cross in the north of the country.
I’m also tasked with responding to health emergencies in the region, and helping medical facilities and staff prepare to respond to emergencies. This includes things like training them in emergency room trauma skills. I’m a doctor, so this work is ideal for me. I really get to see health in the big picture, while also having precious contact with the people who are working to help.
I also love working with my Lebanese and expat colleagues, and I find our small team really supportive. Lebanon is a fascinating country, and the region is obviously a complex place, so I am learning a lot as I work.
This kind of work has been my aim for a long time, and I am thrilled to be doing it. Thanks to family and friends for their support, and of course to New Zealand Red Cross!