A doctor from University Hospital of Wales has returned home to Iraq to provide essential healthcare services to some of the country’s poorest citizens.
Dr Laith Al Rubaiy, Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board volunteered in Basra over Easter to offer treatment through a mobile health clinic.
The visit was supported by charity AMAR who help to build and improve the lives and livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people in the middle east. The clinic meant that medics could treat and provide health care to displaced families and children who fled the war and unstable situation in Iraq.
The mobile health clinic reached remote places in the city and provide much needed vaccinations and medical treatment to the local people who would perhaps not normally have access to basic healthcare.
Dr Al Rubaiy said “This was a unique project and those families we saw live in a remote place in Basra that lacks basic requirements such as water and electricity. The nearest health centre is a few miles away so this allowed people in the area to access healthcare.
“I saw around 15 patients in one morning. The majority of patients came to me with chest infections, temperatures, vaccination check-ups and diarrhoea.
“I spoke to a lot of people about the importance of hand washing and immunisations to try and reduce infections due to the poor sanitation in the area.
“Patients were very happy to see the mobile health clinic and they were happier to know that I came from the UK to share with them my time off. This was the least I could do to help these people.”
Dr Al Rubaiy who trained in Iraq and graduated from the School of Medicine in Basra has worked in Wales for the last 10 years and was recognised as Young Gastroenterologist Doctor of the Year 2017 by the British Society of Gastroenterology. During his visit he also gave a lecture to local doctors and healthcare staff in Basra to educate them on healthcare and keeping well.