Joy in helping others
Eliza Chang with her MSF team mates at Sierra Leone. © MSF
The 32-year-old said that while it is easy to pursue her nursing journey in the comforts of the first world and developed countries, her true passion lies in helping those in need.
Eliza Chang treating an MSF patient in Sierra Leone. © MSF
While all the patients are the same, I find myself yearning to serve those facing barriers to healthcare access. I found greater purpose and joy through participation in my medical humanitarian missions and making connections with the localsEliza
Eliza is currently in South Sudan, taking up the role of Nursing Activity Manager for nine months with Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
Sharing about her work with the orgnisation, Eliza said that she worked with an incredible and diverse team of people. The challenges of working in remote places with poor healthcare access has motivates her to push on with her humanitarian goals.
Eliza shared that her first fieldwork with MSF, in Sierra Leone, a country on the southwest coast of West Africa, was a unique experience.
She said even though she grew up in multi-racial Malaysia, dealing with people from different countries and different cultures were still challenging.
"Things that seem natural or appropriate to us may not be the same for others or vice versa. So I've learned to be more outspoken, share what I've got in mind, and never expect someone to be able to read one's mind," she said.
She shared her regular visits to different clinics and outreach activities were super rough on stony and muddy roads.
"Sometimes, the path is only accessible via a motorcycle.
"I had a lot of muscle aches and bruises from the clinic visits and outreach activities, which could take up to four hours or more back and forth," she said.
She said despite the arduous journey, she was determined to reach the community after witnessing how the villagers had to walk for hours to get to the nearest medical facilities and not all of them made it on time to receive care.
"It made me realise how fortunate I am to be born and live in a country with easy medical access.
"It brought to home the saying that "the things you take for granted, someone else is praying for them," she added.
Eliza also worked with Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in one of its first COVID-19 response in Hong Kong, providing health education services to vulnerable people, and later on helping manage mental health support and workshops.
Eliza's passion for humanitarian work is also shared by her twin Grace Loo.
"Grace is waiting for her graduation ceremony in Australia, and if all goes well, she will be joining Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2021. Grace and I share the same passion for serving the less privileged long before we met each other and have promised each other that we will join MSF and be legit 'Twins Without Borders," says Eliza.