• Stories
  • Experiences of a Refugee Camp in Lesbos

    By Julia Tankink

    View of the clinic in the Lesbos refugee camp

    For my elective clinical rotation I chose to go to Lesbos, where I worked with Doc Mobile, an NGO which aims to provide primary care to refugees in the pitiful circumstances of the Greek refugee camps. Even though I went to a location within the borders of the European Union, on Lesbos there is still a deficit of medical professionals and supplies. Hence, I ended up arriving there with a suitcase stuffed full of a selection of Medpacker’s inventory.

    A patient being treated in the clinic
    The camp pharmacy








    Once on Lesbos, the items were immediately stored in the mini-pharmacy and clinic and were already being put to use the very next day. I have never seen so directly how donations …

  • Stories
  • A Medpacker in Malawi

    By Karen Brokke

    For my medical internship in obstetrics  I went to Malawi in March 2018. I spent 6 weeks working in a hospital in En Mtunthama near Lake Malawi. I had previously done similar internships in South Africa and Curacao, however Malawi was a completely new experience. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries and has a lot of shortages and restrictions.



    The most common disease I saw there was Malaria. Malaria is a terrible disease with severe consequences in pregnancy for both mother and child. Some complications that I witnessed whilst there were extreme anemia, preterm birth, seizures, brain damage and death. It was sometimes terrible to watch this and be able to do next to nothing. These experiences inspired me to get involved in fundraising to try and improve the situation. It was a …

  • Stories
  • Malawi – Notes & Impressions

    15th of November 2017, by Yvette Löwensteyn

    In the summer of 2016, my friends – Joep, Peter, Feddo – and I listened to an enthusiastic story from two girls who had done a tropical internship in Malawi. They praised the welcoming community in Nkhoma, the staff at the hospital and the beautiful scenery of the country. In short, there was not much that kept us from going as well, and within a year I found myself reading safari magazines in the airplane to Lilongwe.

    A couple of months before, I had joined Medpacker. I really liked the smart initiative to more evenly distribute medical supplies among different hospitals in third world countries through travelling students like myself. With the help of my uncle who works at the Diakonessenhuis, I also organized some equipment to carry along and fortunately my flight …

  • Stories
  • Intensive Care in Paramaribo

    4th of October 2017, by Alexander Magan

    Four weeks ago I returned from Suriname as a Medpacker member and a medical intern. At the intensive care unit (ICU) of Academic Hospital Paramaribo I had my first experience providing care in a middle income country. This ICU is the only one of its kind in Suriname, providing care to a high volume of critically ill patients, traumatic injury, as well as cardiothoracic surgery patients. Our team consisted of four to six young doctors, about half of whom are Dutch, supervised by a single anesthetist-intensivist. As the ICU receives donations on a fairly regular basis, I did not deal with supply shortages on a daily basis, however we had to improvise sometimes with disposables such as surgical drapes.

    As a Medpacker I brought a couple of laryngoscopes and a coniotomy set for …

  • Stories
  • David Tsumba

    4th of October 2017, by Peter de Rijke

    When Medpacker asked me to write a story about my experiences in Africa, at first I had a hard time thinking what I wanted to tell the present and future Medpacker members. I could give a summary of traveling through South Africa and other countries. I could continue with life and culture in Malawi, including our internship in Nkhoma Mission Hospital, but that just seemed not right. Instead, I want to tell you the story of David Tsumba.

    In general there are two types of ‘doctors’ working in Nkhoma Mission Hospital. The first group is the minority, this consists of real Malawian doctors who’ve had a 6-year and expensive study. Since at average people in Malawi live on less than 2 US dollars per day per person, it’s not hard to grasp …

  • Stories
  • A Non-Medical Medpacker

    18th of March 2017, by Valerie Buijs

    Valerie_laptopI’ve been in Malawi now for more than two weeks, and it’s been great. I’ve been writing a research proposal practically on the beach of lake Malawi under a thached roof with a gentle breeze passing by. A large part of the day I am typing, occasionally flicking ants off my laptop, and when I have to think, I can stare at the lake, its islands and its boats. During my breaks I watch the local children play in the water and I make my boyfriend and fellow Medpacker Tom lunch when he comes down from the clinic. Sounds pretty great, right? But the beautiful location and presence of my boyfriend are not the only reasons I am having such a great time here. Medpacker is responsible for a large part of it, …

  • Stories
  • Tropical Medicine at Lake Malawi

    malawiblogjeanette26th of February 2017, by Tom Versteege

    Three weeks ago I flew to Malawi as both a medical student and a Medpacker member, to work in a small primary care clinic at the southern end of Lake Malawi. It is my first experience in practicing medicine in a developing country and also my first time in having to deal with supply shortages on a daily basis. Trying to provide good care with supply shortages and a difficult to impossible access to medical specialties such as surgery and radiology has been a challenge, but the ingenuity that is required of the doctors around me has delighted and inspired me. I’d like to share some of those experiences.

    malawiblogclinicTo start with some context: The Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic is located uphill from the shore of Lake Malawi, near to Chembe village and …

  • Stories
  • Medpacking in the warm heart of Africa

    27th of January 2017, by Tom VersteegeTomPredeparture2

    Upcoming Sunday I’ll be leaving The Netherlands for two months for a clinical internship at the Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic in Cape Maclear, Malawi. I’ll be going as a last year medical student to gain experience in tropical medicine, as I intend to work in developing countries after graduating. I’ll also be going as the first Medpacker member to take donations to a hospital that needs them.

    The Billy Riordan Memorial Clinic is a small clinic founded in 2004 by the Irish Mags Riordan. It provides primary medical care to the 15.000 inhabitants of the Cape Maclear area, and was the only source of modern medical care at the time. Ten years ago a small in-patient unit was added. The staff mainly consists of volunteer doctors, nurses and students, and the clinic is …