Beaumont alumni volunteers to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Iona Cutforth at work in the mobile clinic in one of the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Iona Cutforth at work in the mobile clinic in one of the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. - Credit: EMA

A former Beaumont School pupil is working as a volunteer doctor supporting Syrian refugees given shelter in Lebanon.

Iona Cutforth qualified as a doctor in 2019 and is currently working with the organisation EMA (Endless Medical Advantage) helping 1.5 million refugees from Syria - the highest number per capita in the world- many of whom have little or no access to medical services.

She said: "EMA runs a mobile clinic from a van that travels to different refugee camps every day and provides primary healthcare services. I have travelled here alongside a fellow junior doctor from the UK to volunteer with the organisation.

"We have been working alongside Syrian and Lebanese doctors running clinics and seeing over 100 patients every day. It has been a steep learning curve as you don’t have access to the same tests and services in the UK but it’s been really fulfilling work.

Iona Cutforth at work in the mobile clinic in one of the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Iona Cutforth at work in the mobile clinic in one of the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. - Credit: EMA

"I’ve also seen the devastating impact of the economic crisis here as we regularly run out of medications and it can be very difficult to source them from local pharmacies.

"The prices of medication has increased five-fold in the last two years meaning many people can’t afford them. But in spite of the difficult situation people here are so welcoming and hospitable."

EMA was set up in 2018 to provide healthcare and support to refugee camps in the Bekaa valley through mobile clinics.

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One of the co-founders, Dr Ferras Alghadban, recently won a humanitarian award, the Sergio Vieira de Mello, given every two years to draw world attention to the unnoticed efforts made by an individual, group or an organisation.

Iona Cutforth with her EMA team in Lebanon.

Iona Cutforth with her EMA team in Lebanon. - Credit: EMA

The situation in Lebanon is very precarious at the moment, and medicines and other crucial supplies are very hard to come by. EMA welcomes all donations for its ongoing efforts, and at the moment they are also trying to raise money to fund heating for the refugees over the winter ahead: https://www.gofundme.com/f/winter-fundraiser-for-endless-medical-advantage

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