Paula Sansom, MBE
Paula is an accomplished humanitarian worker with over 20 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector, with experience covering Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and at both field and Head office levels. Paula’s experience encompasses emergency response, operations and technical expertise, she is a nurse by background.
Paula’s experience at all levels of an organisation makes her an invaluable asset to any client. As part of Merlin’s response team Paula led emergency responses to natural disasters, disease outbreak and conflict such as; Team Leader of Merlin’s Haiti earthquake response, which included setting up Merlin’s first 40-bed Field Hospital specialising in limb-salvaging/Ortho-plastics; and leading the field response for Merlin’s multi-sector operations to Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar (2008). At Save the Children International she provided strategic operational support to regional teams, oversaw the setup of the Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone, and the multi-sector response across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from London.
Her strong skills as a practitioner have led her to lead country health cluster needs assessments such as in Bangladesh following Cyclone Sir; as well as at a more strategic level, participating in Global Health Cluster advisory groups and IASC Needs Assessment Taskforce. She further represented Merlin on the ACAPS’ (Assessment Capacities Project) Strategic and Operational Boards from 2009-11.
Paula’s extensive operational field knowledge is complemented by her experiences in HQ. As Head of International Programmes across Africa, Middle East and Asia at Merlin she oversaw all aspects of internal and external, programme development, management and operations; while at Save the Children International she provided strategic operational support to regional teams. Paula has continued to contribute significantly to Health in the Humanitarian sector supporting the development of Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit establishing GOAL UK’s Emergency Medical Team.
In 2016 Paula was awarded a MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for Humanitarian services to Emergency Healthcare Abroad.