July 28, 2017
“Refugees here are in need of much more than just physicians – there is a need for all types of healthcare workers, from speech pathologists to physical therapists to child psychologists and more.”
Obadah Moushmoush recently joined the SAMS medical mission to Lebanon, where he has been supporting physicians with translation and triage. The medical student from West Virginia previously worked with SAMS on a psychosocial medical mission to Jordan in 2014. He heard about the medical mission to Lebanon through his local SAMS chapter, and decided to take advantage of his last summer before finishing up medical school.
It is his first time in Lebanon, and he describes the experience as both “phenomenal” and “heartbreaking.”
“Seeing the resilience of people here has been unreal,” he says, at the end of a long day in the Beka’a Valley.
During the mission, he works with the physicians and fellow volunteer translators to enter patients, record patient history and record symptoms, switching back and forth from English to Arabic.
In Lebanon, Obadah reports seeing a great deal of malnutrition, manifested in growth delays. He recalls seeing and treating children who could not access their growth hormone medications in displacement.
“In Syria, they were receiving growth hormones, but in Lebanon the families simply don’t have the funds to pay for this treatment. We saw a 12 year-old and she didn’t look a day over 4 year old. It is really sad that you see many of these cases where simple medications would make a drastic difference.”
Obadah emphasizes the scale of the need in Lebanon, “there’s a huge deficiency in health care needs here. Without the volunteer doctors, many of these patients would go untreated.”
In addition to growth delays, he has seen conditions such as worms, a result of the lack of clean water sources.
Since the eruption of the crisis, Obadah has become involved with the SAMS chapter in West Virginia, trying to help in any way that he can. Although he’s unsure of his intended specialization, Obadah knows that he would like to work with refugee populations in the future, and urges his peers to get involved.
“We encourage all who can lend a helping hand to please not hesitate – the experience will be etched in your heart.”
Volunteer interpreters like Obadah are crucial to SAMS ability to carry out a medical mission. To find out how you can join a medical mission as a translator, please visit us online here.