Notre Dame medical student helps refugees in Bangladesh

The team with volunteers after training.
The team with volunteers after training.

SPECIAL forces and paramedic training helped Notre Dame medical student Anthony Gadenne provide aid and medical training to Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh in December.

Mr Gadenne is part of the Backpacker Medics who provide medical training and trauma relief in disaster situations.

The 42-year-old was part of a team that trained 35 refugees in medical training.

“There are about 600,000 refugees living in Bangladesh and they keep coming,” he said.

“There is chronic disease, malnutrition, shock wounds. You can see the devastation of what happens when lots of people live in a close environment.

“There is polio and dysphoria because people are living in squalor and we can’t really treat that.

“These refugees will probably live in these squalid conditions for years.”

The Mosman Park resident, formerly part of the army and a paramedic, said he was glad he could use these skills.

“In my career I have seen a lot and it helped me prepare for these remote places,” he said.

“When we were working in Bangladesh we had days that we thought would just be training and then you have emergency situations. We tried to help children who had been shot in the foot while they were sleeping.”

Despite the situation he said he saw children start to smile when they left after their two-week trip.

“There was a young girl who got shot in the arm and lost her family,” he said.

“We got her to surgery and by the end of our stay she was coming out and watching the training.”

The father of two has just finished his second year of medical school and said this helped him while overseas.

“My studies helped me to talk with other medical staff over there,” he said.

“It helped me to diagnose problems and to talk medical language.

“As my part of my degree I went up to the Kimberley region and the problems I saw in those communities I saw overseas.

“The lack of healthcare and the isolation creates all sorts of medical problems.

“I had the moment of getting to see my medical training put to use in real life.”