The Human Element: Melinda Gates and Paul Farmer on Designing Global Health

Last year a friend in East Timor recommended a book to me which totally transformed my previously defeatist view of the Third World.  After reading the biography Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, my view of what can and is being done in the Third World was transformed.  Paul Farmer has been working in Third … More The Human Element: Melinda Gates and Paul Farmer on Designing Global Health

Tuberculosis in the Tropics

Living in the Tropics comes with its own set of challenges, especially when you are working around the Tuberculosis bacterium.  Because it is such a potentially dangerous disease and transmitted through the air, infection control measures against Tuberculosis, known as “airborne precautions”, are an important protection. Airborne precautions in a health care setting require well … More Tuberculosis in the Tropics

Eye Contact

As I left the TB Department tonight, an emaciated elderly couple were sitting at the edge of the craggy carpark, knees-to-chin over a black pot cooking on an open fire.  As I cycled past they called out to me in Khmer and we exchanged waves and smiles. At the hospital entrance I waved goodbye to … More Eye Contact

Sidecars and Pyjamas

The only sidecar I ever encountered until I came here was on our television screen in the 1970s.  George & Mildred was an English comedy series which I loved as a child.  The opening sequence featured Mildred in her old fashioned helmet looking decidedly unimpressed from the low-set sidecar attached to her husband George’s old … More Sidecars and Pyjamas

A Week in Cambodia

Phnom Penh is a city of wide boulevards crossing narrow litter-filled lanes.  The crowded streets are swarming with motorbikes ducking and weaving between trucks, mini buses and cars, all diligently transporting a surprising variety of people and goods.  The traffic rules are loose, if not completely absent.   Whole families travel on mopeds in various configurations, … More A Week in Cambodia

Starting Out With Medecins Sans Frontieres

Medecins Sans Frontieres exists to deliver medical assistance to vulnerable populations in humanitarian crises.  The organisation was founded in 1971 by a group of French doctors and journalists who had been volunteers with the International Red Cross.  These men had signed an agreement with Red Cross which blocked them from speaking out when, whilst working … More Starting Out With Medecins Sans Frontieres