Meet the team: Dr. Martina Partelova
Hey Matka! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
“My name is Martina and I am 29 year old medical doctor from Slovakia. After graduating from medical school, I started to work in a pediatric ward in Czech republic. Almost 2 years later, I decided to join the STEP-IN humanitarian project in Iraqi Kurdistan where I have stayed, with short breaks, until now. Beside the time spent in doctor room, I like travelling, hiking and recently in Iraq I am a big fan of swimming.”
When and why did you come to Iraq?
“Since I was admitted to my medical studies, I had a dream one day to be a part of humanitarian mission and use the years of difficult studying to help those who are suffering the most. I was following the project STEP-IN since its beginnings and I am very grateful to get a chance to be part of it. I arrived to Iraq on 17th of October 2016, the same day when Mosul liberation started.”
You have been crucial in developing the HandSAP programme. How did it come about?
“The Healthcare and Social Aid Programme started as a very modest iniciative to help our patients who needed a special healthcare not available at our clinic. When I became responsible for this programme, we had just 4 cases and were struggling to find resources to support them. Thanks to private donations and later the grant from French foundation – Association pour l’Aide aux Jeunes Infirmes et aux Personnes handicapées – the number of beneficiaries grew significantly. I really loved this part of my work, which consisted of selecting the patients in need by me or other doctors, then visiting them, getting a little insight into their lives and providing them the support needed. But, as the project grew, it started to be difficult to synchronize this work with my daily tasks as a doctor at our clinic and the project got its own coordinator.”
What do you like the most about the programme?
“I really like the hope this project is bringing to people who come many times in despair. Sometimes just the feeling that somebody cares about them is making a huge difference in their lives. The improvement of the health of our beneficiaries is our biggest reward.”