December 14, 2015
Every year, hundreds of Canadians work overseas with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), delivering front-line medical care in most of the nearly 70 countries around the world where MSF carries out lifesaving emergency healthcare programs.


Sideeka Narayan


My family and I immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean in 1986. I grew up in Caledon East, Ontario, and I am currently based in Toronto.

Role with MSF: 

Outreach nurse

Most recent posting: 

I was based in the small village of Shamwana, located in the Katanga district of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I was responsible for supervising an outreach team of nurses and health outreach workers. Together we supervised six Ministry of Health medical centres and a community malaria program in nine villages.

What impact did you see MSF having? 

MSF has had a tremendous lifesaving impact in the region by addressing diseases like measles and malaria, and by providing basic primary-care services such as childhood vaccinations and antenatal care. MSF’s support to the DRC Ministry of Health is invaluable, considering the lack of investment in the health-care system for decades.

Please share one detail from your posting that made an impression on you: 

I was always amazed by how much a little can go a long way. By teaching local nurses in the health centres basic triage skills, we were able to help them identify signs and symptoms of medical emergencies and refer patients to the MSF-supported hospital in Shamwana. We also trained community leaders to identify malaria and administer life saving treatment in hard-to-reach villages. Small investments can save lives!

What made you want to work for MSF? 

Before MSF, I worked as a primary-care nurse in a community health centre in Toronto that serves immigrants and refugees. I coordinated a walk-in clinic for undocumented and non-insured individuals living in the city. As a healthcare worker invested in serving vulnerable populations, I was drawn to the MSF mission and inspired by the global MSF movement.

How would you describe MSF to someone not familiar with the organization? 

The work of MSF focuses on medical response and ensuring access to healthcare, but MSF is also so much more. It is an organization that represents humanitarianism and dignity. If you want to do something good and you are not sure how or what, you will not go wrong by investing in MSF.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone heading to the field with MSF for the first time? 

Don’t forget to self-reflect from time to time - and remember that patience is a virtue!

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