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Canadians on Mission: Q&A with field logistician David Johnston

This profile appears in the Summer 2015 issue of Dispatches, the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada magazine.


David Johnston


Surrey, B.C.

Role with MSF: 


Most recent posting:  

"On board the MY Phoenix in the Mediterranean Sea as part of rescue operations for people attempting to reach Europe by boat from the coast of Libya."

One detail from that posting that made an impact on you:  

"The mixture of relief and excitement shown by the rescued persons — relief at being rescued from a very precarious situation on the water and excitement to be starting on the next stage of their journey to what they must surely hope will be a better future."

What made you want to work for MSF?  

"Perhaps a general feeling of wanting to help provide people with some of the medical care we take for granted. AND knowing that I had a very supportive spouse as I headed off on my first mission!"

What's one piece of advice you would give to someone heading to the field with MSF for the first time? 

"You're talking to a logistician — there's not one piece of advice! Take a small multi-meter (know how to use it!), a Leatherman (knockoff), and most certainly an ability to prioritize the very many requests (never accepted without a request form) you will get in any one hour."

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