Claire Bertschinger

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Claire Bertschinger, Director of Tropical Nursing Studies at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, "has been made a Dame in the New Year Honours List for services to Nursing and to International Humanitarian Aid. She has provided nursing care in some of the harshest environments around the world and was the inspiration for Bob Geldof to organise the Band Aid charity and Live Aid...

"Many newspapers picked up on the news. The Independent honoured “Third World heroine: Dr Claire Bertschinger and said, “Swiss-born Dr Claire Bertschinger first came to prominence in Britain during the Ethiopian famine of 1984, when she appeared in the BBC news report compiled by Michael Buerk that inspired Bob Geldof to launch the Band Aid appeal.

"At the time she was working as a nurse for the International Red Cross, deciding among other things which handful of the thousands of children who came to the charity's two food stations each day would be fed. Before that she had worked in countries from Lebanon to Panama and Papua New Guinea, and afterwards she went on to treat the sick in Uganda, Sudan and Sierra Leone.

"She now lectures at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and has written about her experiences in war zones in her book Moving Mountains, donating part of the money from her book to charity.

"She won the Florence Nightingale medal in 1991, in 2005 she was made Women of the Year and 2007 received the Human Rights in Nursing Award from the International Centre for Human Rights and Nursing Ethics. She has Honarary Doctorate from Brunel and De Montfort Univeristy's..

"Claire is the Course Director for the Diploma in Tropical Nursing and remains passionately committed to issues in the developing world. She is a trustee for the African Children's Educational Trust ( and Patron for Promise Nepal ( travelling world-wide raising awareness and funds for charity. She is also a regular voluntary worker with Age UK ( She is contracted part time here at the school. She also gives motivational talks based on her life experiences with the aim of inspiring people to create value and make a difference to our planet. (

"Following on from a successful nursing career in the UK, Claire's first post abroad was as a medic for the Scientific Exploration Society in Panama Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi. She went on to accumulate vast experience from many years working in emergency disaster relief, primarily in war zones, with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She has worked in over a dozen countries including Afghanistan, Kenya, Lebanon, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia. Prior to joining the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Claire worked as training officer in the Health Division of ICRC Geneva. She was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal in recognition of her work in conflict situations, gained a Masters in Medical Anthropology, and has published her biography Moving Mountains (Transworld, 2005) to critical acclaim. She has subsequently received Woman of the Year, Window to the World award, Human Rights and Nursing Award,and an honorary Doctorate from Brunel and De Montfort University's." [1]

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  1. Claire Bertschinger, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, accessed July 16, 2010.