“While in Paris, I feel like I am not really helping people because they already have all they need. Sometimes, you help them. However, sometimes they come for nothing and you feel like this is not what you have dreamed of in your childhood that someday will be able to become a doctor and help people to have a better life.”
“So for things like this, the only way for European to do so is simply by going abroad, to places where there are still a lot of people who really need help and they cannot afford for treatment. Therefore, I came (to Indonesia) and visit the only clinic of Humanity First that all the staffs are women.”
he speaks with a very distinctive accent, a mixing between English and French. The typical look of a Pakistani descent greeted us with a friendly smile on a sunny Saturday morning. We got along well. Her name is Madeeha Chaudhry. This French doctor has been for five days staying in one of the provinces in Indonesia, Yogyakarta.
While waiting for the lunch break, we were talking in a small dining room at the Asih Sasama clinic. Probably not a few have wondered why would a female doctor, who’s only 28 years old go by herself to the village Ngloro, Saptosari, Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta.
“Actually, I cannot speak Bahasa Indonesia at all, so I cannot work as what a doctor generally would do. We discuss about the symptoms, diagnosis, and that sort of thing. So, I’m just helping dr. Gianne here, hahaha..” said dr. Madeeha laughing cheerfully.
After three days taking part in the activity in the clinic, dr. Madeeha is accompanying dr. Gianne, the permanent doctor in this clinic in serving the patients. Occasionally she checked the the patient’s blood pressure and after that the examination is performed by dr. Gianne.
Her cheerful personality makes our talk that afternoon more exciting. You won’t see any frustrated, confused, or fatigued expression that might be found commonly by foreigners visiting in Indonesia. She found that it is a little bit hot here which is very different to the weather in her hometown. Even in these months, it is a cold autumn in France.
12,000 Kilometer Journey
She recalled that in France, the health facilities and services is provided for free to the citizens. Everyone can seek for treatments or consult a doctor free of charge.
“I want to go somewhere where there are people who need help. People who really see a doctor because they have problems yet cannot afford treatment because of financial problem. And they do not know where to go. So I really want to help these kind of people“, she said.
This journey started within the two weeks holiday she have. She was planning to spend some time to relax while helping more people at the same time. Her brother is the Chairman of the Humanity First France. Her brother offered her to volunteer at one of the Humanity First clinic in Africa or Indonesia.
To start a journey alone in foreign countries or even different continents, she decided to go to Indonesia. At first she thought that Indonesia, is a country near India or China. It turns out that it is much farther than she had imagined. With a courage and determination even, she started a 15 hours flight to Indonesia, 12,000 km from Paris.
Working in Paris
Before working as a doctor at a clinic in Paris, dr. Madeeha has been studying medicine for 9 years in the same city. In Paris, people do not need medical assistance because everything can be accessed free of charge. Occasionally she gives seminars to educate the public.
She said that the behavior of people in Paris toward the health care is very different compared to Indonesia. Upon observing the patients in Asih Sasama clinic, dr. Madeeha see that patients obey the doctor’s suggestions. In Paris, based on her experience, lately patients are accustomed to find their symptoms through Google. Then they went to the doctor just to ask for the specific drugs or treatments just like what they found in the search engines.
“Sometimes it becomes difficult to reach an agreement,” she said.
Indonesia with France
One thing that can be obtained free of charge may be less appreciated. That is what can be inferred. In Paris, everything is free of charge. In Indonesia, the doctor should at least consider the financial condition of the patient to determine the drug for the patient. Besides, cases of the disease found are also different. This is caused by the lifestyle of people in the Ngloro village which is different from Paris. Such things happened as dr. Madeeha accompanied dr. Gianne in the clinic.
Various cases and activities that take place in the clinic is considered to be inconceivable to dr. Madeeha. All she knew was just that there is this social clinic in Indonesia, built by Humanity First Indonesia. She did not know that there are other activities in addition to GP practices for 6 days in a week at the clinic.
“I did not know there are many things done in the clinic. It’s (activity here) is beyond my expectations.”
To take a trip alone for the first time will not be easy. It was also what happen to dr. Madeeha. At first she was quite anxious because she do not have any family member in Indonesia. She also said a little bored on the plane because of the long flight that took more than half a day, which eventually paid off with what she has experienced during her visit in the city of Yogyakarta. In the first two days, she was in the provincial capital of D. I. Yogyakarta. She visited temples and tasted a wide variety of culinary.
“But, everything is very good, hahaha. I felt very comfortable. It’s amazing and very beautiful here and the food is also very good. “She said when she was asked about her impression of the city of Yogyakarta.
Outside The Estimation
“Oh no, actually I do not know before about any activities here in this clinic. I think the medical services provided at the clinic is limited to the blood pressure checking, patient observation or vaccination, but it is not. These things are quite different. There are plenty of other activities such as the distribution of supplementary food for toddler and pregnant women, blood sugar level checking, anemia screening for pregnant mothers, parenting classes and much more. Initially I thought that I was going to serve and give everything what I can do, even though it is only a few because of the language barrier. But in fact, there are many other things that I could be a part of.”
This is the first time for dr. Madeeha to go abroad for humanitarian missions. She was not able to check the patient by herself here. In addition to the regulation of medical services in Indonesia which cannot just be done by foreigners, the language barrier was also an important issue.
According to her, in treating a patient, the doctor should be able to diagnose with accurate symptoms and various things.
“Since I cannot speak the language, I am afraid I would not be able to do the job properly. So, I think it’s better for her (dr. Gianne) to do it while I’m helping her. Because in medicine, if we cannot understand what is perceived by the patient, we cannot give good recommendations. Half of the work is done here. Thus, an understanding of what is complained or suffered by the patient it is very very important “.
About The Strong Hope and Love
After graduating from college, she decided to continue her study in medicine at a university in Paris. Even the education in France is free for its citizen. The students only need to pay about 100 euros per year and it was a very small price for the people there. Even the government help the students with financial problems to afford the student’s need, such as transport cards, food, books, and various things. She studied for nine years. She managed to become one of the 400 remaining medical students from the 2,000 initial students at the beginning of the school year.
“I want to be a doctor since I was a kid. From there I continued to try to actualize my dream. I think to be a doctor one must really want it. You cannot be a doctor because someone told you to do it. The determination to become a doctor, to help people must really rooted deep within yourself. If there is someone or maybe your parents are saying that you have to be a doctor, you will not last long. Because to become a doctor, to help people, listen to them, even though they’re not pleasant, you should wholeheartedly love them and love this job.”
Just Need To Take Time
After talking nearly half an hour, our stomach started rumbling. Lunch is being prepared. There have been many stories she shared. For dr. Madeeha, there have been many things done by the Humanity First Indonesia since its establishment 10 years ago.
“I think they (the doctors in Indonesia) are very fortunate. They have a social clinic that not every country has. There are patients in need for any help and you already have the facilities. All you need to do is spend a little time, just a little of your time to go and help. So, give a little of your time to help others. “
When asked the next destination for another humanitarian mission, dr. Madeeha have not yet planned anything about it. Jokingly she was talked a little about Africa.
“No, but maybe my brother would invite me to go to Africa again. I’m a little afraid to go there alone so that if I have to go to Africa, then I would go with him to the clinic of the Humanity First. Cause my brother really love Africa, haha…” she concluded.
— Humanity First ID (@HumanityfirstID) November 5, 2016