Town GP prepares for Congo journey

Sarah Wookey, a former GP at West Bar Surgery for 27 years, is going to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work for Medecins Sans Frontieres for nine months. NNL-160831-092631001
Sarah Wookey, a former GP at West Bar Surgery for 27 years, is going to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work for Medecins Sans Frontieres for nine months. NNL-160831-092631001

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres will be welcoming a GP from Banbury to its ranks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sarah Wookey, a GP who has worked at West Bar Surgery for the past 27 years, will be joining the charity as a new challenge following her retirement last year.

Mrs Wookey will be spending nine months in the central African country, working at a clinic in the east.

She decided to apply to join MSF after seeing how well the charity dealt with the ebola outbreak.

Ahead of her application Mrs Wookey studied a diploma in tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

She is now taking her malaria tablets and packing her bags in preparation for her journey in around two weeks time.

Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, Mrs Wookey said: “We had a goodbye party for me in Brighton last weekend and 25 members of my family turned up, one who asked if I had made my will!

“I will be in the east Congo. I don’t know a huge amount more but I will be working at hospital facilities where people haven’t had much access to medical care and life has been very difficult for a lot of the population.

“I’m not sure what preparation 27 years has given me, but it does prepare one for a lot of things being a GP – you never know what is coming through the door next.

“You happen to improvise with whatever is available and try to deal with things with a sense of humour.”

Mrs Wookey has worked overseas as a doctor before – around 30 years ago she worked in India.

She added she was looking forward to the trip, but was concerned about her family worrying about her while she was away.

She said: “I will be doing my best to give them as much information as possible when I go there which should put minds at rest.

“MSF has a reputation for being very sensible and principled and looking after the people that work for them.”

Mrs Wookey has started keeping a blog on her preparations for the trip.

Her first entry can be found at blogs.msf.org/en/staff/blogs/msf-in-democratic-republic-of-congo/is-there-wine-in-the-congo.