Emirati doctor Ayesha Al Memari current humanitarian work sees her volunteering with a Canadian NGO in Ethiopia by helping physicians and nurses develop emergency medicine at a rural hospital

By Sami Zaatari (GulfNews.com) |

ABU DHABI, U.A.E.―Working as a full-time doctor in Abu Dhabi does not prevent Ayesha Al Memari from also dedicating her time to humanitarian work.

The first Emirati doctor to specialize in emergency medicine, Ayesha Al Memari has a long list of accomplishments in the field of medicine and humanitarian work which was recognized last year when she was selected as one of the recipients of the Abu Dhabi Award. To mark World Humanitarian Day which falls on August 19, Gulf News spoke with Al Memari to learn about what motivated her to pick this line of work.

“My initial interest in becoming a physician was so that I could be on the front line and serve my country if a disaster of whatever kind happened. I took this decision when I was 12 years old in 1990, influenced by the Gulf War when, as a child, I felt helpless. So I decided that when I grow up, I should take a line of work that is about getting to work when disaster strikes,” she said.

“I joined the McGill Emergency Medicine Residency program in 2005, where I was introduced to various emergency medicine sub-specialities, among them international emergency medicine which includes humanitarian services of various kinds, such as serving in disasters or helping developing emergency medicine in rural or underdeveloped areas,” she added.

Dr. Ayesha Al Memari’s Ethiopian experience

Al Memari’s current humanitarian work sees her volunteering with a Canadian NGO in Ethiopia.

“I am helping with developing emergency medicine at a rural hospital in Ethiopia. I work five days per week from 8am to 5pm in the emergency department along with Ethiopian physicians and nurses. I provide consultations to patients and teach the team various emergency medicine skills based on the kind of pathology they see,” she adds.

“Understanding that I was going to work in a limited resource area, I brought my mobile office supply with me to enhance the educational experience, so for every skill and subject I teach, I prepare a clinical information sheet, print and laminate it and give it to the team to use as a reminder and reference,” she said.

Among the main challenges of taking part in humanitarian missions is finding a balance with her full-time job as the emergency program director and chair of emergency department at Mafraq Hospital.

“Most of the humanitarian assignments are for long periods which makes them a challenge as I have a full-time, demanding job. While humanitarian work is of interest to me, my career priority at the moment is improving emergency medicine services in the UAE, which I am achieving through my job at Mafraq Hospital.

“Having said that, I recently decided to volunteer and dedicate part of my annual leave to humanitarian work,” she said.

Continue reading this story at GulfNews.com
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