A RETIRED surgeon will travel to Africa to deliver babies in a country ravaged by of one of the world’s most bitter conflicts.
Dr Jonathan Pye retired from Wrexham Maelor Hospital two years ago after a long career in the operating theatre.
But now he is to return to medical practice 3,500 miles away in one of the world’s most volatile regions.
The 63-year-old will spend two months working in the Central African Republic (CAR), which is gripped by gruesome and chaotic civil violence.
Dr Pye, who worked at the Maelor for almost 23 years, is heading to Bossangoa in the CAR, where he will work for French aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as an emergency surgeon.
He expects to be one of the only surgeons working in the area and among his duties will be delivering babies born as violence rages outside. A year ago, the hospital he will work at was ransacked and looted.
“I have learned how to do Caesarean sections because I’ll be the only surgeon there,” said Dr Pye, of Stansy Road, Wrexham.
“I understand it will be emergency surgery where I am going. Surgery is often quite difficult and, of course, I will be seeing some very difficult cases and situations. But I feel it is more valuable to give my experience than my money in this sort of venture.
“MSF have been there for a year because a year ago the hospital there was completely ransacked and looted.”
Gold and diamond rich CAR is being ravaged by a war fought along religious lines.
Many thousands have lost their lives in the bloodshed while 1.3 million people – a quarter of the population – need food aid.
According to MSF, Dr Pye’s destination of Bossangoa’s has a 38,000 population which is now split into two camps after escalating violence. There are 30,000 Christian civilians in one and 8,000 displaced Muslims in another.
Dr Pye added: “I feel that when I walked out the door at the end of my career, all the talent and experience I have can’t be used.
“Although I retired two years ago, I’m not quite ready to give up yet.”
This is not Dr Pye’s first rescue mission.
In 2005 he travelled to Pakistan with his wife Mary-Anne, a theatre sister, to help with the rescue operation after an earthquake killed more than 100,000 people and saw 138,000 more injured.
Since then, Mrs Pye has helped with humanitarian efforts in Haiti and Sierra Leone.
She will not be travelling to CAR with her husband.
Dr Pye added his general surgery background meant he was particularly suitable to be selected for the position.