October 17, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
The stark reality is that healthcare facilities and hospitals in developing countries are startlingly different from the ones you see in Australia or most other developed countries. Most of the facilities in these countries are under-staffed and under-funded and the volume of patients is too large for any hospital or healthcare facility to handle effectively. Equipment is also bare minimum and there are very few doctors and nurses. In some cases, these hospitals may not even have the facilities that you would consider to be very basic back home. Modern equipment and labs are non-existent in some areas.
Another factor that adds to the burden is that health insurance is out of reach for most people, which means if they want to receive any treatment, they have to foot their medical bills from their own pockets. Many cannot afford these services and will usually delay going to a hospital till they reach a point where the illness becomes unmanageable. When working in hospitals in these countries, most of the patients you are likely to encounter poverty-stricken patients in advanced stages of injury or disease.
If such are the conditions, why should you then consider work placements in developing countries? There are several reasons for this.
The difficult conditions in these countries make the work environment very challenging. You will witness firsthand, how doctors and healthcare professionals at these hospitals and medical facilities do their best with the meagre resources that are available. This kind of an experience equips you with the capacity to handle any kind of adverse work conditions that you may find yourself thrown into at any point in your medical career. It trains you to make the best use if minimal resources and still work at your optimum best.
Another dimension to doing a medical work placement in a developing country is that it helps you decide whether or not this is the career you would like to pursue for the next few years of your life. Observing physicians work with patients suffering from these diseases gives you a better understanding of what life as a doctor is like.
Medical placements in developing countries are an ideal platform for potential doctors to gain some additional insight into their chosen profession and help you grow professionally and on the personal front as well.