Refugee doctor tells her terrifying story of treating enemy soldiers in Libyan war

London, UK, March 16. 2021 - Now in it's 12th week, the Our Voices in the NHS podcast continues to celebrate healthcare workers and share their inspirational stories, often of struggle and resilience, with the latest installment of the series standing out as a highlight. The latest episode tells the story of Rema, a refugee doctor who fled to the UK after working in hospitals in Libya during the civil war.

Rema tells host Alex Melia of the horrors of witnessing many of her colleagues die in front of her everyday and how, when she left for work in the morning, she wasn’t sure if she would return home. Despite these dangerous working conditions, Rema carried on doing her job.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Podcast Radio Hour, host Alex Melia explained his motivation for starting the podcast ‘Oversees medical professionals do some unbelievable things which you don’t hear about on the news. I wanted to give them a platform’. In this episode, Rema discloses how she found herself in the position of having to care for patients from the militia who had killed people from her own community. One of these men threatened her life, warning her that if she failed to care for them properly, she would be killed: “Despite that I was kind to him. That’s my duty. I feel proud of myself to be honest. I don’t regret anything. I promised when I graduated that I would help all patients in any circumstances.”

Host Alex Melia spoke to Podbible about his interview with Rema, “I was struck by her level of compassion and bravery. There was no hint of anger or resentment when she told me this story which was staggering; she had this calm sense of acceptance about it all.”

Rema fled Libya 8 years ago and is now living happily in the UK and working for the NHS. It took Rema years to recover from the trauma she experienced but she has found support from therapy and local communities.

This episode will be released on Tuesday 16th March. Our Voices in the NHS is available on Apple, Spotify and all major podcast platforms.

The series was created in collaboration with production company Fascinate Productions, and features original music from Nicolas Alexander, known for his work on The Guardian’s news podcast Today in Focus.

Alex is available for interviews, please contact

Notes to Editors

Notes to editors:

About Alex Melia

My family all have professions that involve some form of care. My sister, Claire is an NHS nurse in Greater Manchester. My sister, Sinead is a healthcare assistant in a nursing home for disabled children and my father, Robert is an NHS healthcare assistant at a hospital in Greater Manchester. I was cared for by the NHS for following an accident when I was 8 and I’ll never forget what the staff there did for me.

This is what led me to my job helping train overseas doctors and nurses, and why I want to give back in a small way through this series.

About Fascinate Productions

Fascinate Productions is a podcast production company based in London. We’re a full service agency; working across creative, recording, marketing or distribution. From charities, to brands, to public figures we tell the stories and spread knowledge that matters.

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