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University of Balamand > Academics > Faculties > Faculty Of Health Sciences > Quick Links > Tania Hachem


An interview with Tanya Hachem, FHS UOB graduate 2006.

Currently Medical Team Leader with Medecins Sans Frontieres.

(Interviewed on September 4, 2013)

How did you come to be a Nurse, and then join MSF?

I followed my instincts. I have always had a passion to help people and I felt that a profession in healthcare, specifically nursing, would allow me to create the greatest impact. During my high school years, I thought of following in my mother's footsteps and studying law, but after long discussions with family and friends I felt that there was a greater need for a profession in healthcare. I would say my uncle, who is a physician, played a vital role in my decision.​

His passion for medicine and compassion to his patients are contagious. I did think of becoming a physician, but I felt that nursing would offer me opportunities in all kinds of medical specialties with direct satisfaction of serving the community in a relatively short period of time. That along with the academic opportunities, like scholarships, at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UOB, I embarked on the journey.

When you are aware of a golden opportunity, you directly realize it. That is how I joined MSF. I was working fulltime at St. Georges Hospital and MSF needed a mobile clinic nurse in Lebanon at the time, so I applied. I was already exposed to field and community work through various organizations and in refugee camps, so I knew that this is what I wanted to do. It simply matched my goals and aspirations.

What are the types of projects you are currently involved in with MSF?

I have been on several missions to Congo Africa and to Myanmar (Burma), working as a nurse and then as a clinic manager. I have worked on sleeping sickness, HIV and Tuberculosis, Measles epidemics, sexual violence and Primary Health Care. When you go on a mission with MSF, whatever is the initial objective you have to be prepared for anything that is out of the “normal”, including natural disasters, and be ready to go on exploratory missions to help wherever you are needed. At university you study about tropical diseases very briefly but you don’t get exposed to real life cases. Working with MSF has added a lot to my professional knowledge and practice. Now I am going back to Congo, as a Medical Team leader, to work on a project that includes emergency preparedness, Primary Health Care and sleeping sickness.

How has the University of Balamand helped to prepare you for your position?

I think it is the diverse curriculum along with dedicated faculty and staff that helped shape my career. Also, my colleagues studying Public Health inspired me to take a different view combining Nursing and Public Health. The Red Cross course we take at the FHS is very helpful. It provided me with skills that I apply daily at MSF. I enjoy challenges and exposure to the most difficult and complicated cases. The education I received at UOB helped me tackle complex problems. I like the adrenalin rush and the unpredictable in the risks we take to decrease morbidity and mortality. My work has made me appreciate life more and take a broader view of the world, as well as be more independent and impartial.

Do you have any advice for current students at FHS UOB?

Pursue your passion and get exposed to all aspects of healthcare. I still aspire for higher education, but I think that the practical experience I am gaining at MSF is helping me identify the type of degree I want to eventually pursue, whether it is health policy, public health, or care management. Nothing comes easy, but make it special, for you can make a difference when you do what you love!​
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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,

Tel:  +961-6-930250
Fax: +961-6-930278