World Humanitarian Day – Featuring CMH’s Dr. Ian Furst

World Humanitarian Day is a day to honour humanitarians around the world, including those here at CMH, who strive to meet ever-growing global needs.

Dr. Ian Furst is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon here at CMH and wanted to apply his surgical skills to assist vulnerable populations; specifically reconstructive surgery.

He is currently a surgeon and CEO for the Swisscross Foundation whose mission is to empower, strengthen, and support frontline health care communities that have been devastated by war.

Dr. Furst’s team recently opened a new facility in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The centre offers disability reversing surgery for people affected by war with a global team of surgeons and nurses.  Swisscross works with local Iraqi healthcare providers to provide continuity of care for the patients and mentorship in complex surgery.

Within these conflict zones, Dr. Furst deals with complex injuries that arise from war injuries, undertreated injuries, and congenital differences. Members of these vulnerable populations are displaced; many living in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) and refugee camps, and do not have easy access to complex healthcare.

We have to be neutral and impartial. We see a lot of people that are a part of the conflict. We treat everyone regardless of citizenship, status, or culture” remarked Dr. Furst.

Within the WHO (World Health Organization) framework, there are 5 building blocks of health systems; service delivery, health workforce, health information system, access to essential medicines, financing, and governance. In warzone areas, all 5 of these blocks are disrupted”

Dr. Furst has travelled 6 times in the last 18 months for 2 weeks at a time and his team have seen approximately 1500 referrals, completed 250 surgeries, and assessed 700 people. 

#NoMatterWhat is the 2023 United Nations theme for World Humanitarian Day. “No matter the danger of the hardship, humanitarians venture deep into disaster-stricken reions and on the front lines of conflict, strive to save and protect people in need”

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