Fieldset
Libya: "It cannot help but have an impact on you"

In Tripoli, MSF's mobile clinics provide healthcare to vulnerable migrant and refugee communities living in volatile, insecure conditions. Hatem, a doctor, is part of the team...

Leaving the office every morning to run our mobile clinics in the urban areas of Tripoli, our team rush to load up the vans with medical supplies and medicines for our patients.

To me, it is beautiful to see these collective efforts and feel the harmony among team members working together for the sole purpose of providing care.

It really affected me to learn that the people we meet have been forced to leave their homeland, their families and their loved ones behind for the sake of finding a better life...

We arrive at the location where we set up our mobile clinic. As we pull up, the sight of vulnerable people waiting for us so they can have a medical check-up – just as we look forward to seeing them – fills me with happiness and relief.

Follow-up

I work mostly with patients who have suffered trauma injuries – I do the stitches for the patient or make a cast for their fractured limbs. I'll see them multiple times at different clinic sessions to monitor their progress and give follow-up care.

Being able to directly witness the improvement in their condition, seeing their wounds heal, seeing them regain the mobility and functionality they had before their injury, seeing their satisfaction – all of this brings me joy. This is one of the things that motivates me to go to work every day.

On several occasions, when I have written a prescription note for a sick patient, they have asked me: "Where do I go to get this medicine?" When I direct them to my nurse colleague, who is standing next to me, the person smiles with relief – they don’t have to go to a private pharmacy to pay for a medicine they desperately need. This also gives me joy to see.

Changing

The person I am today is completely different from the person I was before I joined MSF. The Hatem I was before didn’t know about the specific needs of the migrants and refugees we see in Libya, or about their living conditions and circumstances.

This has definitely changed my perspective towards migrants in general, and towards those in need of medical care in particular.

The Hatem I am now is much more knowledgeable about the situation of migrants and refugees. Now I can speak about their needs and suffering and encourage others not to pre-judge them or treat them unfairly.

Dangerous journeys

It really affected me to learn that the people we meet through work have been forced to leave their homeland, their families and their loved ones behind for the sake of finding a better life.

When you learn what they’ve been through to achieve this – the risks they experienced on their hard and dangerous journeys to Libya, the ordeal they faced in detention centres and at sea – it cannot help but have an impact on you.