Medical Volunteering in Moria Refugee Camp
In this podcast, Dr Emma Figures is joined by Dr Flora Burns and Dr Rose Brennan, who discuss their experiences as medical volunteers in Moria Refugee camp last year.
Every day, more refugees are fleeing Afghanistan, Syria, the DRC, Somalia, Iraq and other countries, escaping awful situations and hoping for a better, safer life for themselves and their families in Europe. Sadly, many end up stuck in overcrowded camps, waiting for months, even years, on asylum paperwork. In September 2020, Moria, the largest refugee camp in Europe, on the Greek island of Lesvos burnt to the ground. While some refugees were re-located to mainland Europe, many still remain in dire and desperate situations in what has been called “Moria 2.0”, living in tents on Lesvos, with limited healthcare, sanitation, education, opportunities or hope.
Flora and Rose share some of their insights, reflections, challenges, rewards and advice, from their perspective as junior doctors involved in medical volunteering in Moria. They discuss working with translators, common clinical presentations, difficult cases and coping strategies.
Flora graduated from Peninsula Medical School in 2017 and completed her foundation years in Scotland which included a rural rotation in Fort William. Since then Flora has worked as an ED clinical fellow with 80% in ED and 20% of time for Expedition medicine in Bristol. Flora’s interest in humanitarian work began when she did her medical elective in Malawi. Like many other junior doctors, she wanted a break in the traditional career ladder after her foundation years and was keen to broaden her horizons in expedition medicine and humanitarian work. Flora loved working towards the Diploma of Tropical medicine and Hygiene and was inspired to go and put her knowledge into practice.
Rose studied medicine and an intercalated year of pre-hospital medicine at Barts and The London Graduating in 2017. Following this Rose completed her foundation years in Brighton and Hastings then moving to Bristol at F3 to work as an ED clinical fellow working 80% in ED and 20% of the time for Expedition medicine. During this year she went on an altitude medicine course, ski medicine course and then following the initial wave of Covid headed out to Lesvos to work in Camp Moria. Since then Rose has worked as ship medic for Adventure Under Sail going across the Bay of Biscay and has now moved out to New Zealand and is working as a junior registrar in Hawkes Bay ED.
If you would like to contact Flora or Rose, they can be reached at:
Further resources on medical volunteering on Moria and other opportunities:
- Medical Volunteers International www.medical-volunteers.org
- Kitrinos Healthcare https://www.kitrinoshealthcare.org/volunteer
- Boat Refugee Foundation https://bootvluchteling.nl/en/
- ‘Moria 2.0’: refugees who escaped fire now living in ‘worse’ conditions. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/07/moria-20-refugees-who-escaped-fire-now-living-in-worse-conditions
- Annie Chapman. A doctor’s story: inside the ‘living hell’ of Moria refugee camp.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/09/moria-refugee-camp-doctors-story-lesbos-greece
- Melissa Godin. Blaze That Destroyed Greece’s Moria Refugee Camp Symbolizes Breakdown in E.U. Over Future of Migrants. 2020 Sept. Available from: www.time.com
- Aegean Boat Report (weekly statistics update) www.aegeanboatreport.com
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Aegean Islands Weekly Snapshot. Available from: www.data2.unhcr.org
- Bill Frellick. Greece: Refugee Hotspots, Unsafe, Unsanitary. Human Rights Watch. www.hrw.org
You can find more Humanitarian MEdicine focused sessions on the Academy HERE