22 Sep 16 09 Nov 18

Doctor Javid Abdelmoneim

Working with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) had long been a dream for Javid Abdelmoneim.

Born and raised in the UK to Sudanese Iranian parents, Javid 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. 

Listen to Javid talk about his time in Haiti on our Everyday Emergency podcast below.

Iraq, Haiti and South Sudan

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 Haitiafter the devastating earthquake.

He spent six months working as an emergency room doctor, treating trauma patients and running internal medicine and intensive care.

"Haiti was certainly my most challenging mission with MSF, both personally and professionally, I haven't seen that many deaths in my life, especially in young children. I wasn't prepared for that."

JAVID ABDELMONEIM

In May 2014, Javid joined MSF's team of flying doctors, nurses, and logisticians in South Sudan.

Travelling by helicopter or plane, depending on the weather, Javid and his colleagues would arrive at a remote destination around noon and open at 8 am the next day. 

In the space of an afternoon they had to hire and train local staff, building the clinic and place to sleep.

Ebola in Sierra Leone

In June 2014, Javid set off with MSF to Kailahun, Sierra Leone, where he worked in high risk environments treating Ebola patients.

Javid dons his Personal Protective Equipment before entering the high risk zone of the Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone, 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.

"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."
JAVID ABDELMONEIM

Reflections

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.

Search and rescue

In the summer of 2016, Javid embarked on an assignment with MSF aboard the Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership with SOS Mediteranée.

During his time on board, Javid tended to those we rescued at sea, providing check-ups and patching minor wounds.

He would then refer serious cases for emergency evacuations. 

Syria

Javid's most recent assignment took him to Raqqa, Syria.

He spent a month in late 2017 working in a clinic set up by MSF in one of the few houses left standing in the city. 

"We heard stories of men returning to their homes in Raqqa to prepare them for their families," says Javid. "They’d enter the house, trip a time-delayed device without knowing it, and then, three days later when their whole family had arrived, the device would go off."

Javid discussed his time working in Raqqa in another episode of our Everyday Emergency podcast.

Perspective

"It's easy to get caught up in our own lives," says Javid. "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."

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