Our fearless women driving equity in healthcare

We’re proud of all the UK-Med women who provide vital healthcare to men, women and children across the world. Whether as medics on the ground or support staff in the UK, our whole team plays such a vital role in helping millions of people every single day.

UK-Med has teams in Ukraine, Turkey and Malawi, and today on International Women’s Day (IWD), we want to say a big thank you to all of them.

We also want to shine a light on the topic of equity in healthcare, with the IWD theme itself this year #EmbraceEquity. At UK-Med, we want every woman to have access to the support and healthcare that she needs, and, in this blog, we’ll hear from some of our team, what equity means to them and what it is like to be part of the UK-Med team.

Helen Davey is a UK-Med midwife currently in our field hospital in Turkey:

“Women have the human right to healthcare. In humanitarian settings women require access to high quality sexual and reproductive health from puberty to menopause. At the UK-Med field hospital, midwives and obstetricians work together to ensure women’s healthcare access continues throughout the emergency response and continues beyond this. No woman’s health needs should be neglected or undervalued regardless of the environment.”

Trish McCready is a UK-Med critical care nurse who talks about her experiences in Armenia and Ukraine:

“I have always strongly believed in gender equality. One of the things I feel most proud of is being deployed to Armenia in late 2020 with the UK Emergency Medical Team with ICU doctor Bex Inglis on a Covid-19 response on request of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Armenian Ministry of Health. Bex and I put together a bespoke training package and did everything we could to make the Armenian nurses who were predominantly women, feel empowered with knowledge in critical care nursing and confidence in looking after critically unwell patients. Bex and I were both ‘blown away’ by the enthusiasm and welcome we received from the nurses especially considering the challenges that they had faced and were facing.

“I also deployed to Ukraine in June 2022 with UK-Med again working with an amazing team of predominantly female nurses and doctors.  We visited ‘polyclinics’ on the eastern border, which hadn’t been visited since the occupation of the Russian army earlier in the year and set up a clinic in the centre of an eastern town.  It was an amazing experience to meet and support our Ukrainian primary health care colleagues.

“I would like to wish all the women who work in healthcare a happy International Women’s Day – believe in yourself and support others to do the same.”

Dianna Maddah is a Senior Health Advisor for UK-Med and explains why UK-Med has set up a special women and children area at our field hospital in Turkey:

“Women have the right to feel safe and happy while seeking healthcare services. Away from the queue, the cold weather, and the crowded spaces, we create a space for women to wait with their children, play with them, breastfeed their little babies and wait in a warm room to get her turn in the clinic. We do this because we care about her.”

Sophia Turner, Emergency Nurse and Deputy Medical Coordinator at the UK-Med field hospital in Turkey:

“I have worked around the world in many countries and have met some truly inspirational women that it has been my privilege to know.

“I’m currently deployed in Turkey as part of the response to the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria at the beginning of February. I am really proud of what we have we have achieved out here and the work we have done to support the local population in this time of crisis.

A significant proportion of our patients have been women and children, many of whom are now internally displaced from their homes and it has been extra important to me that the health needs of this community are met.”

Finally, Ayren-Marie, a UK-Med pharmacist currently in Turkey wants to inspire the next generation:

“I’m proud to work for the NHS and for UK-Med, and I hope that I can inspire other women to pursue varied careers in the pharmacy sector.

“To me, our work should equip the next generation of women to outdo us in every field. This is the legacy we’ll leave behind. Happy International Women’s Day.”

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