I leave the region with all the usual feelings, heavy feelings, the same ones people much brighter and more eloquent than me have described through the years. I just have one small, unfurling seed of optimism; knowing that if water could be disentangled from the war, it presents a genuine opportunity for co-operation and relationship building between neighbours. In all the gloom there is a glimmer of hope and it's right there, in the water.
Talented health professionals from across the world are our greatest hope for realising the universal right to health in an increasingly challenging world. For this to happen, equitable access to global health training is essential. For if WHO is to be a truly global guardian of health, its workforce, and thus its interns, must be global too.
Now is not a time for excuses, now is a time for action. The very fact we are in the midst of a crisis on this scale is proof that the international community has not yet done enough. This epidemic can, and must, be overcome. But the question now is how many more will have to die before it is, how many of those tragic deaths could have been avoided.
The twisted wreckage of an ambulance is displayed at Al Shifa Hospital - the largest hospital in Gaza - by way of memorial to three paramedics who died in the recent conflict. At Al Aqsa Hospital there are gaping holes in the outside walls where paramedics tell me the building was hit. Several ambulances still operating have bullet holes in the windscreens.
Nisreen and her 13-year-old twin sons evacuated their house in Abasan, Gaza, during the recent 50-day conflict with Israel - and returned to rubble. "We found our house had been bombed and bulldozed. We couldn't even see where it used to be. My sons were so shocked, so sad," says Nisreen. "We lost everything."
Public health emergencies often occur in the place least likely to be able to manage them, and western Africa was poorly prepared for the latest outbreak of Ebola. However, as much as an overwhelmed world might fervently hope that it will remain an African problem, its impact will be felt far beyond the borders of Liberia and its neighbours. Ebola outranks everything else on a crowded global agenda today, and the quicker we acknowledge this, the more effectively it can be contained.
I have been forced by mental ill-health to impose limits on the way I live. I've replaced life in an office with freelance writing and voluntary work in prisons and hospitals supporting those with poor mental health: I am entirely the beneficiary, given the well known benefits of trying to help others.
In the last ten years governments around the globe launched huge campaigns against the tobacco industry and rightly so. Holding a cigarette in the United States became such a taboo; you might as well be holding a gun instead! Sugar has become the new tobacco killer and governments have done very little, if anything at all, to tackle this problem. Why?