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As a London-trained doctor I've always been excited to explore the alternative career pathways that with a medical degree I feel privileged to have available to me. Working for MSF always seemed like a distant fantasy, especially earlier on in the career ladder.
But after six years of being a junior doctor, including completing core physician training and working in Australia for a year, and now with the rather depressing atmosphere surrounding the UK junior doctors contract, the time seemed right to focus my mind on applying to MSF.
Eight months after submitting my application, I've completed the diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene at the
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
(an unbelievably awesome postgraduate course), endured some mindless locum work, and am on my first assignment.
Working as a doctor is something I've always enjoyed and taken great pride in. But at the same time I've always made sure I am able to distance myself from my work life and not forget the outside world. It's very easy to get sucked in to the rather repetitive nature of the UK medical training process (beyond medical school) and feel like another cog in the system. But for me, life is too short to be irritated by these sorts of issues. This is one of the main reasons I opted to pursue humanitarian work. It gives me the opportunity to feel truly valued in my professional role by helping to deliver healthcare to people where it would not normally exist and where it is rarely taken for granted.
N.B. The photograph above shows a view of Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, where I'm now working. MSF provides comprehensive basic healthcare, as well as treatment for HIV, TB and non-communicable diseases, to the 240,000 inhabitants through two clinics.