During 2017, nearly 250 UN Volunteers worldwide served in assignments that are clearly linked to medical professions. They bolstered the work of 23 UN partner entities, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNAIDS, as well as 13 UN peacekeeping missions. Through their assignments, they contribute significantly to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, which targets achieving healthy lives and wellbeing for all.
I have had the privilege and pleasure of practicing as a UN Volunteer Medical Doctor in three different countries. My first experience was in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2009) with the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). This was my first opportunity to learn how the work of a UN mission is conducted, attending at the same time several important training sessions. During this assignment, our Level 2 Clinic treated many cases of malaria and other medical problems.
I am a medical doctor by profession. Above all instances in my life, being a UN Volunteer in a UN peacekeeping mission has had the greatest influence on uplifting my career. When I first chose to be a UN Volunteer with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), it was a simple matter of my concern for people in such a deprived environment. But after joining the mission, I realise that I also had a lot to gain from the experience. Serving with UNSMIL has strengthened my career by giving the opportunity to work among wide range of people in varied roles.
UN Volunteers serving with the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) have a unique set of challenges. The security situation is such that independent circulation is highly restricted, if not impossible. The volatile environment poses continuous security risks both to local populations and to UN personnel.