York County Medicine Winter 2020 - 12

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

A SURGEON'S LIFE
iN MAURITANIA
As told to Liz Torres by
Dr. Amanda Beattie

I

n 2011, Dr. Amanda Beattie finished her surgical
residency at York Hospital. Dr. Beattie always knew she
would be using her skills as a surgeon to serve in a third
world country. After residency she moved to the country
of Mauritania, located in Northwest Africa. She chose
Mauritania because of statistics she read from the World Health
Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, for a country
to have adequate medical healthcare the country needs to have
about 13 physicians per 10,000 population. Mauritania has
about 1 physician per 10,000 population. (In comparison,
Pennsylvania has about 23 physicians per 10,000.) In addition,
Mauritania is a large country, about 8.5 times the size of
Pennsylvania, and most of its doctors practice in the capital
city on the coast, which means that in a country that is already
medically underserved, there are large sections of the country
that don't have even one doctor.
She spent her first year in the country learning language
(the two major languages of the country are Arabic and French)
and completing the requirements to obtain a medical license
to work as a doctor in Mauritania. She then moved to a small
town called Chinguetti, which is a seven-hour drive outside of
the capital city of Nouakchott. She started volunteering as the
sole doctor for an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
hospital in the town. The hospital had very few ancillary
services available, so in addition to working as the only medical
doctor and surgeon for the area, she also set out to improve the
infrastructure of the hospital. She collaborated with another
NGO to bring in laboratory instruments from the United
States, received training on how to use them, and then started
training nationals from the area to help her in performing the

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York County Medicine | W I N T E R 2020/2021


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York County Medicine Winter 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineWINTER2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineFALL2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineSummer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineSPRING2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineWINTER2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineFALL2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineSummer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineSpring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineWinter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/YorkCountyMedicineFall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/YorkCounty_Medicine/ycm_summer18
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