MSF doctor: 'I'm surprised there aren't more deaths'

COMMENT: One of the doctors removed from the island talks about the mental health crisis among children

Dr Beth O’Connor was part of the Medecins Sans Frontieres medical team expelled from Nauru this month after being accused of political activism. She writes of the despair she witnessed during her time on the island.


I applied to join Medecins Sans Frontieres in June last year. When I arrived on Nauru that October, they asked me to take over prescribing for all the mental health patients at the Republic of Nauru Hospital.

In terms of patients with chronic mental illness, there had been no functional services for about nine or 10 months, which meant patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had not received antipsychotics for that period, and as a result had many psychotic relapses.

We mainly used an assertive home-based treatment model for the Nauruan population. Nauruans were also welcome to visit the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) clinic, but it was difficult to

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