Home Health Championing health education and dignity with clean underwear

Championing health education and dignity with clean underwear

8 March 2017

Fourth year GKT School of Medical Education student, Yasmin Milner is helping refugees and giving 150 women back their dignity with fresh and first-hand underwear.

In 2016 Yasmin volunteered at the Dunkirk refugee camp, France’s first and only internationally recognised refugee camp. While speaking with the women in the camp, they identified issues with poor hygiene and sanitation of chronic vaginal candidiasis. The women, while grateful for the donations, explained that between the use of second-hand underwear and the difficulty washing in breezy, portable shower cabins, thrush was now an everyday reality.

Vaginal thrush, an itchy, painful and potentially damaging condition is caused by many things including poor hygiene, stress and nutritional deficiency. Left untreated, it can lead to chronic infection, problems in pregnancy and even miscarriage. It is also transmissible to men.

While the condition itself requires treatment, the ability to put on clean, dry underwear would relieve the pain, discomfort and minimise the risk of re-infection.

Understanding the legal constraints of providing medical care, Yasmin and a co-founder set up the Knickers for Dunkirk to raise awareness of the issue and nurture a sense of compassion and dignity.

An everyday ‘luxury’ that we so often take for granted is that our underwear is just ours. Not donated, not stained, not second hand.

Student, Yasmin Milner

The Knickers for Dunkirk campaign raised £2,500 within a month which provided a pack of five fresh pairs of underwear to each of the 150 women in the camp. With the additional funds, the campaign also purchased a pair of tracksuit bottom trousers for each woman.

In February 2017, Yasmin was recognised for her humanitarian contributions and named recipient of the 2016 Dr Abbas Khan Medal. The Dr Abbas Khan Medal was established in 2015 to provide a lasting tribute to the extraordinary humanitarian contribution of alumnus Dr Abbas Khan. Dr Khan graduated in medicine from King’s in 2006 and went on to become an orthopaedic surgeon. He tragically passed away in 2013 after he was detained for undertaking humanitarian work in Syria.

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