Shadowing a DoctorJanuary 15, 2014
Voluntary Service Organisation VSO is a UK government-funded international development charity. This programme was established to give individuals the unique opportunity to spend time volunteering abroad in undeveloped countries across Asia, Africa and the Pacific where they work with local organisations that serve poor people. Volunteers do whatever needs to be done to break down the barriers that trap people in poverty.
Registering with the VSO gives you an opportunity to develop skills that can enhance your healthcare career while also gaining exposure to the totally different way that healthcare is dispensed in other countries. These three months volunteering could be part of post-school or college skills development or you can do it during a career break or a gap year.
32 countries currently host VSO volunteers and till date, the number of people who have volunteered with VSO has gone beyond 40,000 and is still rising.
Who can volunteer?
VSO welcomes volunteers from most professional backgrounds, ranging from education and healthcare to engineering and agriculture. To volunteer with VSO as a trained professional you will need to have the qualifications and professional experience as specified.
Professional skills and experience requirements may vary, but general eligibility criteria include:
- Aged between 25 and 75
- A recognised qualification, such as a degree, so you can obtain a work permit
- Pass a medical check
- Pass a criminal record check
- Be available for a placement that could last from 6 to 24 months.
The basic requirements may vary depending on the requests made by the organisation’s overseas partners. They do prefer to take on volunteers who are willing to use their knowledge to train and advise others. The idea is to provide a self-sustaining legacy that will keep getting passed on long after your placement has ended. You do not need to worry even if you have had little or no prior experience with training anyone. This is the perfect opportunity to give it a go and gain some experience.
Volunteering in health care with the VSO
Global health care is one of the primary areas of focus of the Voluntary Service Organisation and they have been working continuously to improve health care in some of the poorest countries around the world. Towards this end, the organization runs 10 programmes across Asia and Africa. Health professionals, from doctors and nurses to therapists and midwives play a significant role in these programmes, where they share their knowledge and skills with local colleagues and help them improve the delivery of urgently needed care.
There are certain things expected from you as a VSO volunteer:
- Willing to work on a modest living allowance
- Prepared to live in similar conditions as that of local colleagues
- Be prepared to spend some time in training and briefing before leaving for your placement
- Willing to share your experience and promote VSO when you return