Thursday, 10 June 2010
Alice, Ethiopia - Working in one of the most dangerous places in world
I decided to sign up for a Doctors of the World mission because I particularly liked the emphasis on long-term sustainable projects, as opposed to emergency based missions. Doctors of the World promote training local staff rather than replacing them with expatriates which definitely corresponded with my ideals. I have to admit that the fact my fiancée is French also attracted me to the organisation because I thought working for a NGO with a French connection would improve my language skills.
The Somali region is a conflict zone and there are associated risks living/working close to the Somali border so it was important to follow the security rules. I felt really safe. I actually extended my mission in Ethiopia and I was happy I was able to do something positive in this often forgotten area.
My main tasks were focused on improving maternal child health. We were based in a main town in the Somali region, with one of the only functioning hospitals, Doctors of the World with the support of the local regional health bureau are in the process of rehabilitating the hospital. Doctors of the World has a team of national inpatriate (Ethiopian staff from other areas of the country) healthcare staff based in the hospital, including midwives, and therefore as an expatriate midwife I was not required to be based in the hospital.