Refugee Week 2022 – ‘Making a difference with MSF’

Two RANZCOG Fellows have detailed their experience working with MSF Australia.


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

21 June 2022

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Australia is committed to reducing death and suffering among people who have been affected by acute crisis and/or excluded from healthcare, often in unstable or remote regions.

Two RANZCOG Fellows have detailed their experience working with the organisation.

Dr Claire Fotheringham, who is Head of Medical Unit at MSF Australia, says working with the organisation as an obstetrician or midwife can be extremely challenging, as resources are limited and the conditions are very basic. “Yet the benefit for individual patients is very clear, due to the lack of alternative healthcare for women and girls, and the geographic isolation of the towns,” Dr Fotheringham wrote in O&G Magazine.

“In MSF-run maternity hospitals such as in Pakistan, MSF aims to provide care for the women within a region who have difficulty accessing other healthcare services due to cost or cultural barriers. In a well-established project such as Peshawar Women’s Hospital, MSF can also dedicate resources for ongoing improvements in care.”

Read Dr Fotheringham’s article.

RANZCOG Board Director Dr Jared Watts has completed placements with MSF in Nigeria and war-torn Syria. “The most difficult thing during my time with MSF was witnessing the death of a pregnant lady or a lady in labour. It is something we might see once or twice in our careers – and then to see it on a weekly or daily basis in these countries… It is something that still challenges me,” Dr Watts says.

Watch Dr Watts talk about his experience with MSF.


Running to Saturday 25 June, Refugee Week’s theme of ‘Healing’ aims to highlight aspects of the refugee experience and engage the broader community.

Read more about Refugee Week

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