VICTORIA Parris and her colleagues at Médecins Sans Frontières found a pharmacy was the coolest place to hang out on their African assignment.  

It happened to be the only building in town with air conditioning!

Not that there was much down time for the hospital consultant, who spent three months in the small town of Tigray in Ethiopia, supporting a community recovering from a two-year war.

Victoria, who works part-time as an infectious diseases consultant at Ealing and Northwick Park Hospitals, spends three months a year abroad with MSF.

MSF provides help to countries in desperate need of medical support.

It was Victoria's second visit to the region, where she worked in a health clinic, which attracted more than 100 people a day.

She said: “You have to be able to think on your feet and turn your hand to anything. It is challenging but also rewarding to know you are making a difference.

“My role included triaging patients who needed to go to the nearest hospital, a two-hour drive away.

“Also, securing a supply of anti-venom to treat snake bites and setting up a courier service to deliver samples from patients with suspected TB. You certainly don’t get bored.”

Victoria's resume includes working during an Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, tackling diphtheria in Bangladesh and spells in Armenia and Ukraine.

So, what next for the globe-trotting medic?

“I’m back at Ealing for now, but next Spring I’ll be contacting MSF and see where they need me.”