Last week, our November medical mission came to an end, and the group dispersed back to their homes. It is hard to condense in a meaningful way what we experienced and what that meant to each person, so I am going to let some of the participants speak for themselves.
First, though, let me tell you what we accomplished. We saw over 2400 patients, handed out about 800 blankets and over 1000 hats, mittens, socks, and scarves, and distributed hygiene items in each of the locations we visited. We also provided some medications and baby formula to the clinic we assisted at in Zaatari camp. We visited 4 locations north of Amman in Irbid and Jerash regions, and spent 2 days helping out at Zaatari.
We had a great group of people on our team – doctors, psychologists, nurses, a physical therapist, dentists, an OB-GYN, and dedicated humanitarians. Without our volunteers we would not be able to do what we do on our missions. Each person has taken time away from work, paid his or her own expenses, and carried extra bags filled with supplies and medications donated for the mission.
This is from Naveed, one of the doctors on the mission: “The Syrian refugees were always grateful. Their prayers at the end of our consultations was my motivational fuel to do more for them.
Family medicine in the west is about building a trusting relationship with the patient over time and empowering them to make informed decisions about their treatment. The doctor’s role is to facilitate that with his or her knowledge. Our exams and training is centred around this process. However, in the case of humanitarian work we have to treat immediately with the added hope that one consultation will be enough. In reality it’s not the case. Chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease require many more consultations and investigations. I still believe we’ve made a difference to their lives with our brief intervention.
It’s also been a defining moment in my life too and I hope to return one day and continue my work. The friendships I’ve made during this journey have been most memorable and will stay with me forever. Where else could I have met such dedicated souls?”