RPH nurse home from humanitarian endeavour

Photograph of Simon Cavoli
December 8, 2017

Clinical Nurse Simon Cavoli has recently returned from a fortnight of volunteering in Bangladesh, delivering medical aid to Rohingya refugees who had fled Myanmar.

Simon is part of the Backpacker Medics’ Australian Disaster Response Group which provides post-disaster medical care to remote regions of the world. Comprised of individuals with clinical, travel and operational backgrounds, the group is deployed in rotating teams.

Simon said despite the challenging circumstances, it was rewarding to be able to apply nursing skills to help those in need.

“It is impossible to totally deal with some of the things I’ve seen and it will leave a mark on me forever, but I am so grateful for the privilege of being able to serve these people, hear their stories and in any way ease their suffering,” Simon said.

Last August, around 430 000 Rohingya refugees arrived in Bangladesh, and are living in refugee camps.

“I am thankful for the support offered by the team and especially my wife in just talking through what we experienced,” Simon said.

Simon said his experience in Bangladesh had broken down a lot of perceived barriers in First World health care. “You could become emotional with patients, even though you can’t do much, you can still embrace, cry and share your empathy to people who have known none.”

“When you made a patient better, or delivered a sick kid to Médecins Sans Frontières and you see the relief on the faces of the parents, you know you came for the right reasons.”

Simon said he is now preparing and mentoring the next team for their trip.