Zainab Conteh (d. August 7, 2013)

This is to inform you of the sad news that one of our Clinical Health Officers in the Bo project in Sierra Leone, Zainab Conteh, passed away on Wednesday 7 August from an unconfirmed pathology.

Zainab was 36 years old and had been working with MSF since June 2011. She worked in all the departments in MSF’s Gondama Referral Centre and for the past two months she had been working in the obstetrics ward.

Her colleagues in the field describe her as a committed, motivated and lovely person to work with.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family, friends and close colleagues.

Fabienne de Leval, Deputy General Director


A person’s worth is not measured by how much money you have, or how much success you earned but it is measured by the lives you touched and the people you cared for… Zainab Conteh’s life might have been short, might not be worth writing in a book, or in a by line in a leading newspaper, but it was a life worth knowing.

The kind of person that she was, Zainab would make your day brighter with her enthusiasm and joviality, she loved life and kept on going even when the going got tough… She never gave up and would always want to improve her way of doing things. She was probably the most openminded person who would accept her mistakes and strive some more to improve herself.

She was not just a CHO in Gondama Referral Center, she was one of the most hard-working CHOs who wanted to learn and hone her skills and further her knowledge. She was not just a co-worker, but also a very dear friend to the other CHOs; the type of person who always listened to their stories, shared food with them and was never selfish with anything. She was always willing to help out in times of need. She got along with the people around her.

As Zainab was able to touch a lot of lives not just in the ward she was assigned in, everybody’s feeling of loss means she was not just well-loved by the other CHOs but by all the people she had the opportunity of working a tough shift with and sharing a good laugh at a cracked joke to lighten the mood.

In more ways than one, she was most loved by the family she had. She will always have a space in the hearts of the people she so unexpectedly left behind. Her grieving husband will miss growing old with her beside him. The five children she raised and nurtured over those years will not be able to gain her wisdom and her tenacity in life.

The bond she had with working colleagues will be there to stay in GRC, and her children and husband will always know that she was someone worth remembering for life. She will be missed.

The MSF team in Sierra Leone.

By: Göran Svedin