Working with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) had long been a dream of Javid Abdelmoneim.
He became involved with MSF in his second year of university as a medical student, working with the Access Campaign to promote the accessibility of medicines for neglected diseases. He has since worked with MSF on a number of missions, and in a number of different capacities.
In 2009, he set off on his first mission to Basra, Iraq, where he worked as an emergency room doctor at Jumhuree Hospital. The focus of this mission was to provide advanced life support, trauma life support and resuscitation training.
The following year, Javid travelled to Haiti after the devastating earthquake. He spent six months working as an emergency room doctor, treating trauma patients and running internal medicine and intensive care. Javid documented his time there, as well as on other missions, on his Instagram account.
Aug 7, 2013 at 11:16am PDT
"Haiti was certainly my most challenging mission with MSF, both personally and professionally," says Javid. "I haven't seen that many deaths in my life, especially in young children. I wasn't prepared for that."
"You travel by helicopter or plane, depending on the weather", Javid explained in an earlier interview with MSF.
"You get there around noon and open at 8am the next day, so in the space of an afternoon you have to hire and train local staff, while the logisticians are building the clinic and the place where you’re going to sleep."
— DrJavidAbdel (@thisfoolj) March 28, 2014
During his time in Sierra Leone, Javid featured in the BBC Panorama documentary, 'Ebola Frontline'. Using a head cam, he recorded his daily activities in the high-risk zone, giving us a 'doctors-eye view', and revealing the devastating physical and emotional challenges that Ebola presents.
— DrJavidAbdel (@thisfoolj) November 17, 2014
"I feel I make a greater impact on the patients that I see working with MSF, because they are much more in need. It has given me real perspective on life and has made me realise how privileged we are here."
— DrJavidAbdel (@thisfoolj) September 18, 2014
Inspired by these experiences and frustrated by an apparent indifference to suffering, Javid reflected on his time fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone in this TEDx Talk filmed in Athens in January 2015.
"It's easy to get caught up in our own lives. We often don't realise how privileged and how lucky we are. Working with MSF has given me that perspective and encourages me to continue giving back. I think that everyone should find their own way to give back, no matter how you choose to do that, because it will make your own life much happier."