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13 October 2007

John McCarthy
meets Jason Lewis who is back from a thirteen year long expedition circumnavigating the world by muscle power only, walking, cycling, kayaking, roller-blading, and pedalling a specially built boat.  Jason claimed a few records on the way and while en route he also broke his legs, was arrested as a spy and suffered septicaemia and a touch of madness in the Doldrums.

For doctors and nurses in the developing world, dispensing medical treatment amounts to a daily battle of logistics, support and supplies.  So why do doctors and nurses take time out from a relatively safe environment to work in conditions that test the skills and tenacity of even the most dedicated of medical practitioners?

Marcus Wooton, a nurse with Médecins Sans Frontières and Doctor Adam Hill discuss how their travels have informed their lives and careers.

Presented by John McCarthy

Jason Lewis on pedal boat Moksha on Pacific Ocean - April 1999

Photo: Jason Lewis on pedal boat Moksha on Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Kiribati - April 1999
(Copyright: Kenny Brown, Expedition 360)

This week’s guests: 

Jason Lewis 
is the first person to circumnavigate the world by muscle power. 

Jason got involved when an environmental scientist Steve Smith whom he’d known at university asked him to go on a human powered trip round the world. They set off from Greenwich in July 1994 crossing the Channel in their specially built pedal boat named Moksha.  It was meant to take three years.  In the thirteen years it did take, Jason, amongst other things, biked through Europe, pedalled across the Atlantic; rollerbladed through the States; walked a section of the Solomon Islands, while on the way getting involved in educational projects, as well as fundraising for the expedition and for charity.

Marcus Wooton is a nurse who worked with the NGO Charity Médecins Sans Frontières, created in 1971 by a small group of French doctors in the aftermath of the Biafra crisis in the sixties.  It provides medical services in war-torn countries and parts of the world hit by endemic disease.

Marcus returned in August from Southern Sudan where as one of a team of six he covered an area the size of Yorkshire treating the health of the Nuer community.  There are two main bases and each has two satellite clinics.  Each sees about 5,000 patients a month.  His first posting was in a small oil town called Lankien and then an even smaller place called Pieri.  He was there for ten months, staying in a mud hut at the satellite stations or in a tent with a mosquito net and his solar charger for his ipod.  At one point the team had to vaccinate 10,000 people in a fortnight against meningitis.

Médecins Sans Frontières

Médecins Sans Frontières – United Kingdom

Adam Hill is a junior doctor in the NHS covering general surgery.  With his parents’ support he started Operation Frameworks to provide paediatric orthopaedics to children abroad.  Adam did trauma surgery in Soweto in his final year of medical training abroad and saw an opportunity to help.  Since then he has travelled for volunteer medical work to South Africa, Tanzania and India.

Operation Frameworks

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John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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