Aiming for Prevention: International Initiatives

Medical Voices Against Violence
IPPNW medical professionals tell their stories

Nigeria, Medical student

I remember saying good bye to my friend and classmate (medical student) shortly after a tutorial on a fateful evening, only to wake up the next morning to hear she was trapped in the midst of fighting during the recent ethno-religious/political crisis in Jos, Nigeria November 2008.

I recall how she kept calling me to recount her ordeal in fear as the day passed! She had to leave the students lodge towards night fall to seek safety in a retired General's house nearby, after it was rumoured that the lodge was to be attacked the next morning. Early the next morning she was awakened by shouting thugs, who unleashed destruction of property in the neighbourhood, using light weapons, clubs, knives and locally made bombs.

If not for a distress call for help by the General, so many students would have lost their lives in few minutes, as the thugs exchanged fire with the security agents on duty at his house.

However, in some other part of town, 3 medical students sustained bullet injuries. One eventually died from complications of gunshot wounds.

The crisis is now over, but the psychological trauma still lingers in the mind of these students. Why should students be the target and be at the receiving end of small arms violence? How come more than a truck load of ammunition is smuggled to parts of the region so easily?

As a medical student I have experience firsthand the effects of such violence on health.

Thus now and in future I will continue to work for peace through health, and advocate for policies that will reduce the spread of small arms and light weapons.

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For more information about Aiming for Prevention, contact Maria Valenti, Campaign Coordinator, 1.617.440.1733 ext. 303.