MSF - Foya Hospital, Liberia


50 bed hospital


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


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


Basic House near to the hospital.

Outdoor toilet / pit latrine

Outdoor 'shower' (buckets of water)


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)


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


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:

MSF contact:

MSF Australia for application form and interview

My contact details:

FRACP trainee
If you would like to make contact, please email 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