Doctor tells of refugee camp horrors

October 26 2018
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A DOCTOR from Bishopston has travelled to a refugee camp in Lesbos, and was shocked by the appalling conditions that he found there.

Tom Nutting lives near The Brightside Ground with his husband. The 30 year old studied at the University of Bristol and is now a fully qualified doctor, spending his foundation year working at the BRI and Southmead Hospital. He is currently applying to train as a psychiatrist, and travelled to the Greek island of Lesbos in support of DocMobile (a German non-profit organisation that provides humanitarian medical aid to refugees).

Lesbos is close to Turkey in the north Aegean region, and has one of main refugee camps for people crossing Turkey to get to the EU. Most of the refugees are from Syria, Afghanistan, the Congo and Libya, and their journeys have seen them travel on lorries, on foot, and on dangerous boats and dinghies.

During his self-funded trip in September, which lasted for just over three weeks, Tom worked as GP alongside two others at a clinic delivering primary healthcare in the refugee camp near the capital Mytilene. He supported people with coughs, colds, infected wounds due to poor hygiene, as well as symptoms of mental health and PTSD conditions. He also supported people who have been victims of torture and sexual violence.

At the camp the population has now grown to 10,000, but there is only capacity for 3,000 people. Tom said: “People are living in absolutely terrible conditions. Despite the population growing, the number of tents hasn’t increased which means that people are sleeping outside, there are limited washing facilities and one toilet to 80 people, and people have to queue for four hours three times a day for food. As a result there are lots of diseases like TB, and lots of violence, riots and tensions between the people that live there who have already experienced unimaginable trauma. I wanted to do my bit to raise awareness of the amazing work that DocMobile does to support people who are in desperate need.”

Tom is raising money to contribute towards the clinic’s medical supplies and running costs. To find out more or to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tom-with-docmobile