MedicineUncharted.org


Destinations

MSF - Foya Hospital, Liberia

Hospital:

50 bed hospital

Location:

Remote town in north west of Liberia near Sierra Leonean and Guinean borders. 12-24 hours drive to Monrovia (capital). 4 hours drive to nearest surgical centre

Country:

Post conflict situation (civil war ended 2003). UN peacekeepers remain and security situation stable but volatile (subregion insecurity - guinea and ivory coast, poverty and 90% unemployment, tribal tensions). Infrastructure destroyed during war and very slow to recover. Health care non existent other than that provided by NGOs.

Your Profession:

Medicine (doctor - FRACP trainee)

Typical experience:

  • Only doctor for the hospital, hence oncall all the time.
  • 50% under 5years old
  • Main pathologies - malaria, Respiratory tract infections, Diarrhea, Malnutrition, TB
  • Minor surgical procedures. No operating theatre in hospital but many severe acute surgical cases present needing stabilisation before transfer
  • Responsible for obstetric unit as well with support from expat midwife
  • Teaching of nursing staff and physician attendants

Hospital facilities:

35 inpatient beds, 15 obstetric beds.

Outpatients - 150 - 200 per day

Isolation tents for TB Rx

Major duties:

  • Supervision and development of hospital
  • Inpatient ward rounds daily
  • Supervision of outpatient activity
  • Assistance with complicated obstetric activities
  • Oncall after hours for acute emergencies (second to physician attendants)

Working hours:

  • Mon - Fri 0800- 1700
  • Sat 0800 - 1300
  • Sun AM Ward round
  • Oncall always
  • Teaching after hours twice per week

Accommodation:

Basic House near to the hospital.

Outdoor toilet / pit latrine

Outdoor 'shower' (buckets of water)

Food:

Basic food provided by national staff cook (lunch and dinner). Monthly food deliveries from Monrovia for additional food

Phone/Internet access:

No internet access (satellite email via outlook to MSF email address)

Satellite phone

Mobile phone

Hospital staff:

4 expats (doctor, midwife, field co ordinator, logistician)

~ 65 national staff (Physician attendants, nurses, security guards, drivers, cleaners, cooks etc)

Language:

Difiicult... English speaking country but Liberian pidgin English, compounded by difficulties understanding my accent

Local Kissi dialect

Often live with French speaking MSF staff with limited English

Town facilities:

Limited - Small bars, Weekly market

Getting there:

Flight (via Paris) to Monrovia then 1-2 day drive to foya

Travel:

1-2 day trips to neighbouring sierra leone or guinea depending on security situation

2 weeks break given after each 3 months (senegal, sierra leone or guinea)

MSF website:

www.msf.org.au

MSF contact:

MSF Australia for application form and interview

My contact details:

Author
FRACP trainee
If you would like to make contact, please email contact@medicineuncharted.org and we will pass your message on.
Date of your visit: Sept 2006 - Jan 2007

Other Comments:

Excellent organization to work for. No political or religious agenda. Very security conscious and careful

Liberia project was an excellent first mission