UNMOGIP Bids farewell to Female Medical Officer
Lieutenant Colonel Vesna Megic left the United Nations Military Observation Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in September 2017, having served for 13 months as the Mission Medical Officer.
Lieutenant Colonel Vesna is a specialized emergency doctor and has completed four peacekeeping mission assignments in her career; two in Kabul with NATO, one in the Golan Heights with UNDOF and her latest with UNMOGIP. Before joining UNMOGIP, Lieutenant Megic ran a Military Medical Education Center in the Croatian Armed Forces.
UNMOGIP is a mission with a light footprint of 44 Military Observers. Achieving the goal of gender parity in the deployment of Military Observers is a challenging task reflected in the global average of 3.4% women Military Personnel currently deployed in peacekeeping operations around the world. UNMOGIP continues to pursue this goal and is appreciative of every female peacekeeper that deploys.
During her time in service with UNMOGIP, Lieutenant Colonel Vesna appreciated the collegial and supportive approach of all her colleagues which allowed her to exercise her tasks effectively and put to good use her cultural awareness and respect for local culture.
“At the moment when you join the army as a woman, you are aware that you will be in small number. I am already used to living [and working] with a lot of men, so I didn’t find any kind of difficulty,” she said.
When she joined the Croatian Armed Forces in 1994, Croatia was in the middle of homeland war that lasted from 1991 to 1995. During that time, she saw many casualties among soldiers with multiple traumas caused by explosive devices, rockets, mortar shells, and gunshot.
“In wartime, it is something that you expect, but it is different to see civilians suffering because of military combat, especially children who they have no direct stake in the conflict,” she added. The end of her first year in armed forces in 1995 brought peace to the country.
At UNMOGIP Colonel Vesna worked as the Medical Officer at headquarters with occasional visits to UNMOGIP’s field stations to check living conditions, health and hygiene of the UN Military Observers.
“Some of the field stations are far away from either headquarters in remote parts of India and Pakistan. Even though I am always available to advise them, it is challenging geographically because I am not there to provide them with direct medical support,” she added.