As someone who’s been on the front lines in Syria, David Nott knows too well the dangers and urgency of calls for action. A United Kingdom trauma surgeon, Nott shared his personal experiences and briefed doctors, health-care professionals and community members on the current Syrian crisis Saturday (June 4) at Oakville’s Le Dome Banquet Hall.
He was the keynote speaker at the locally-based (Canadian chapter) Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations’ (UOSSM) fundraiser, which also featured a brief presentation from Dr. Anas Al-Kassem, UOSSM co-founder and current chairman of the Union of Syrian Relief Organizations-Canada.
Nott has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders Canada and completed medical missions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Darfur. UOSSM is a medical relief organization that provides humanitarian and health assistance to Syrian victims of war, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political affiliation.In collaboration with the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UOSSM documented the targeting of approximately 177 Syrian facilities from August 2012 to December 2015.
“So many people were stunned by exactly what was happening. They could not believe this was actually happening in Syria,” said Nott. “Health care is seen as a weapon. You take out a doctor, you take out 10,000 people they can’t care for. At the moment in Syria, there are 10,000 people who cannot be looked at.” In 2011, Nott spent a month with MSF in Misrata, Libya to help people recover from fragmentation injuries. MSF asked for his assistance a year later in Syria, as the conflict there escalated. Nott worked at a hospital near the village of Atmeh.
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