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Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy: Brent doctor nominated for national award for charity work in Iraq

PUBLISHED: 19:26 18 February 2019 | UPDATED: 19:26 18 February 2019

Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy with children in Basra, Iraq. Picture; Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy

Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy with children in Basra, Iraq. Picture; Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy

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A Wembley Park doctor has been nominated for a prestigious award for his charity work in his native Iraq.

Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy examines a baby at a mobile clinic near Basra, Iraq. Picture: Dr Laith Al-RubaiyDr Laith Al-Rubaiy examines a baby at a mobile clinic near Basra, Iraq. Picture: Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy

Dr Laith Al-Rubaiy, who is a consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Northwick Park and St Mark’s Hospitals in north west London, is one of three people shortlisted in the international category of the St David Awards.

The awards, run by the devolved government in Wales, honour “exceptional achievements of people from all walks of life in Wales and abroad”.

The doctor, who used to live and work in Cardiff, has returned to Basra – where he himself studied medicine – to run mobile clinics in the city’s outlying areas, which he explained are isolated from primary care clinics.

Dr Al-Rubaiy told the Kilburn Times: “In the past year or so I have been back to Basra two or three times to set up mobile patient clinics. 
“They’re essentially caravans fitted out with basic equipment.

“I am also involved in designing the curriculum for the medical school.”

Dr Al-Rubaiy’s trips to Iraq have seen him work with the Amar Foundation, a Westminster-based charity which helps vulnerable communities who have been affected by conflict in the Middle-East.

With the foundation, Dr Al-Rubaiy is also hoping to improve screening for the illnesses he deals with in his day job.

He said: “We’ve also provided kits so the can carry out bowel cancer screening, for example. I wanted to use my experience to give back to Iraq. So far, so good!”

Next week Dr Al-Rubaiy, who is 39, will be flying back out to Basra where he will be trying something new.

“We are going to be trying to set up a clinic on a boat in the marshes south of Basra.

Dr Al-Rubaiy, who continues to lecture at Swansea added: “It’s a huge priviledge to be honest. I didn’t expect to be nominated, and I didn’t know anything about it until I got the letter from the Welsh first minister.

“I can’t claim all of the credit. It’s a group effort between myself, the charity, and the authorities here and in Iraq.

“It’s been a huge opportunity – I feel I am giving something back.”

The award-winners will be announced on March 21.

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