January 25, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Since 1971, Doctors Without Borders (DWB) has expanded globally to provide health services to those communities in need of medical support, care, and intervention. DWB is an independent, international organization with no political, religious, or military affiliations. Its aim is to treat those in need without regard to race, religion, or politics. With over 27,000 active participants, DWB is servicing communities desperate for medical care in over sixty countries. Doctors Without Borders has done such important work for humanity that this organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.
Not Just For Doctors
Of course, Doctors Without Borders would be nothing without its medical professionals. Physicians, nurses, obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, pediatricians, and anesthesiologists are well represented in the DWB corps. Mental health professionals are also crucial to the DWB mission. Due to the critical nature of urgent medical conditions across the globe, specialists in HIV/AIDS, TB, and other infectious diseases are also key players in helping communities in need.
Doctors are supported by non-medical professionals in their work. Financial and human resources coordinators make sure that missions are well funded and staffed. Logisticians make sure that the facilities available to communities in need are well built, well lit, and have proper sanitation.
For their contribution to the medical care of those in crisis, those who work with DWB receive a monthly stipend, transportation, medical coverage, room and board, and even student loan forgiveness.
Doctors Without Borders provides humanitarian medical missions to countries and peoples in crisis. DWB has made a significant impact to the peoples in many zones of conflict, such as Somalia, Congo, and the Ivory Coast. Health care for women and children is a top priority. DWB provides vaccinations and medications to children suffering from diseases typically prevented in the Western world. DWB also provides women with gynecological care and helps them to have successful pregnancies. When there are outbreaks of disease, such as malaria or E. coli, DWB travels to the area to provide treatment and support prevention measures. DWB is particularly active in areas where HIV/AIDS is widely prevalent, teaching those who are infected how to avoid infecting others and to maintain a healthier, longer life through taking medicines.
How To Get Involved
Doctors Without Borders is not for everyone. Right now, DWB is actively recruiting anesthesiologists, emergency physicians, midwives, and HIV/AIDS and TB specialists. DWB requires two years of relevant medical experience. You must be committed to an assignment for 9-12 months, shorter if you are a surgeon, ob-gyn, or anesthesiologist. International travel experience is necessary, as well as the ability to work with diverse populations in a flexible and adaptable manner. It’s important that you are computer literate, as report-writing is a key duty of the work in DWB. A working knowledge of French is valuable, as many countries in which DWB operates are French-speaking countries. Most importantly, a commitment to the mission of Doctors Without Borders is required. The mission of DWB is your motivation to helping save lives across the globe.
After becoming a doctor, you may want to consider a stint in Doctors Without Borders. This humanitarian organization has saved untold lives. To give back to communities that need your important medical skills is a life-altering experience for doctor and patient alike. — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.