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Social Issues
On International Women’s Day, Dr. Anne-Marie Pegg Live Tweets A Day In The Life Of An Aid Worker In
March 8, 2013
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What's life really like when you're working in a conflict zone?

It's hard to imagine what aid workers go through on a daily basis. But to get some insights - and the perspective of a female aid worker in the field right now - you can check social media today.

Dr. Anne-Marie Pegg of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is sharing her experiences all day via Twitter and Facebook.

Here's her first Tweet:

Dr. Pegg is a Canadian doctor from Yellowknife. She's worked for MSF since 2008 on several missions, and she's been in Syria since June 2012.

She's currently the medical referent at a trauma hospital run by MSF, where she's responsible for overseeing medical activities, as well as community outreach.

All day, she'll be Tweeting from @MSF_Canada and writing updates on the MSF Facebook page to tell the story of what an average day looks like in a Syrian hospital.

For a peek at Pegg's daily experience, check out this piece, written for the Toronto Star.

She describes one side effect of the ongoing conflict: there isn't enough fuel for people to heat their homes. As a result, she's had to treat many burn victims, as "people will burn almost anything to stay warm, and they will burn it in anything."

She also talks about training the young men who are providing first-line health services for the wounded - none of them were medically trained before the conflict broke out.

Now, they work as "nurses" and "doctors," and Pegg continues to teach them what she can.

Today's social media experiment was timed to coincide with International Women's Day, and to highlight the work of a female aid worker in the field.

But it's also meant to raise awareness of the situation in Syria after two years of civil war and according to MSF, that situation is horrific.

In this report, 'Syria Two Years On: The Failure of International Aid So Far', MSF describes "a humanitarian catastrophe."

They cite the failure of Syria's government to authorize MSF's work in the country as part of the problem. However, the organization has opened three hospitals in opposition-held areas in the north of the country.

The report lists some of the challenges facing Syria and its people: the destruction of health infrastructure (including assaults on and murders of healthcare workers, and attacks on hospitals and care facilities), civilians caught in the cycle of violence, the difficulty of delivering effective aid, and general failures in providing assistance to refugees.

For more on the situation on the ground, and the work MSF is doing, check out this video, 'Syria: Two years of conflict'. Dr. Pegg is interviewed at around the 3:30 mark:

As of March 18, it will be a full two years since the first protesters against the Syrian regime were killed. Since then, the UN estimates 70,000 people have died and more than one million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries.


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