Refugee Doctors
Refugees, IDPs and people on the move

Dr Media Rasheed's interview

Having graduated from Damascus University in 2009, Media was in her fourth year of specialisation in haematology when she had to stop and leave the country.

Determined to complete training Media’s family had already fled Damascus, while she had stayed behind, determined to complete her training. But her family convinced her that there was credible danger to her life and safety if she stayed, and so she left for Erbil in June 2013.

After looking for work for six months, Media started working for MSF as a general doctor, first in Kawargoskcamp and thenin Darashakrancamp, where she sees around 50 patients per day.

No chance to say goodbye

“As a Syrian doctor working in a Syrian refugee camp my relationship with the patients is not limited to being a doctor. Some patients just want to talk. I listen to their stories of suffering and feel their pain, especially those escaping the conflict in rural Damascus and Aleppo. One of the stories that affected me the most was of a Syrian lady who lost her husband after heavy shelling in Aleppo, and didn’t have the opportunity to say goodbye or bury him before fleeing.

'Often feel guilty'

“Before the conflict started in 2011, I had heard a lot about MSF. I remember when I was at school with my friends, we dreamed of working for MSF in Africa after graduating, and seeing the world. But never for one moment did I imagine I’d work for MSF treating Syrian refugees!

“I often feel guilty for leaving my country, as we doctors have pledged not leave at times of war, but the security situation left us no choice. The day the war ends I will return to Syria.”