Did you know you can travel abroad and join important medical and healthcare volunteer projects which bring much needed help to people and communities in developing countries. A lot of people don't realise you don't need previous experience in the profession to participate on these types of rewarding programs. Medical missions bring a lot of care and attention to children and people in developing countries like India, Guatemala, Peru, Kenya and Nepal. You can be part of an outreach program which do amazing work, some placements can be hard work with long days but its totally worth it. In a non-medical capacity you might be helping experiences doctors and nurses with daily activities and helping with education people.
Medical volunteer programs run all year round and are flexible so can you can join around a job or family commitments. If you have always dreamed about exploring new countries and would like to do something different then you will love dental volunteer programs. You will meet new people from all over the world who devote their lives to helping others, these people might become friends for life as you will develop close bonds on these trips. Maybe you are looking to get out of your confort zone and do something totally different where you can really help people. Or you want to take a different type of vacation and you have been thinking about a volunteering holiday. Positions can include assisting in hospitals or with community projects. On overseas healthcare programs you can help communities affected by poverty, disease and disability like in India you can support NGOs and charities by applying to local organizations.
On medical placements abroad you could be placed in an exotic continent like South America gaining a great understanding of the places you visit. By applying you are also likely to increase your chances of finding medical job openings and public health positions in the future enhancing your career. On nursing volunteer projects you could find work in Africa, maybe helping HIV Aids volunteer programs. Medical volunteer programs allow you to live and see a different part of the world and allows you to be part of rewarding projects which really make a difference in the developing world. These are great community service programs allowing you to give back to those in less fortunate situations in the world. In the Western world we take medical treatment and dental hygene for granted but a lot of people don't ever get to see a doctor or receieve information about health and hygene. Below we provide a run down on the types of positions available.
Work with people and communities providing treatment and preventive care around the world. You might be working in dental clinics, schools, orphanages and in remote villages in places like South America and Africa. Dental volunteer programs are an amazing experience but please note work can be difficult and challenging. Living and working conditions might be basic compared to Western standards but don't let this put you off. If you are training to be a dentist or are just interested in helping then this program is for you. As a volunteer dentist you will be able to provide care and examinations whilst as a volunteer hygienists you can help educate local people and assist children with hygiene care. If you have no dental work experience don't worry, non-medical volunteers are also needed to help around the world. You can play a vital role assisting and helping other international staff. As a volunteer you will be able to make a difference and feel a sense of achievement. Types of tasks might involve maxillary carcinoma excision, extractions, gross pathologies, teeth grinding and abscesses. These placements are a great learning experience, you will get to shadow experienced dentists and work alongside prosthodontics and orthodontists.
Nursing and Midwifery Projects
You will be working in big, busy wards and also smaller clinics providing care to a number of patients, some people will have minor injuries, rare illness and diseases, be pregnant or need other types of care. On midwifery placements you will be working on a successful motherhood program reducing the chances of maternal mortality and helping to deliver babies in a safe environment. As a volunteer nurse you will be able to provide healthcare and help local doctors in departments like paediatrics, neonatal intensive care or leprosy rehabilitation. To join you will need to be adaptable and open to living / working in a new environment. You will get lots of help and support from local staff and there will usually be other international participants taking part in the programs too. Local people will be very welcoming and there are even free language lessons available to help you communicate better. Sometimes you might be working to treat communicable diseases, advanced pathologies, HIV, Aids, malaria, thypoid, tuberculosis and polio. Tasks can include treating patients with fevers, dressing wounds, getting people ready for surgery or generally assisting local doctors and nurses. On midwifery placements you might be helping deliver babies or working on neonatal and intensive care. These electives can be challenging as standards and equipment is not the same as in the UK for example.
Some countries in the developing world suffer from a lack of practitioners and this is where there is a need for internationals seeking to make a difference to apply and help outpatients and inpatients. Initiative and creativity is welcomed on these placements, you will be able to help local staff and also create / implement new programs designed to help local people. You might be dealing with patients who have a wide range of problems, this placement will be a challenge where you will learn a lot. You will be able to hone your basic skills, gain experience, learn new things and also see / treat rare cases like burn victims, polio and club foot. If you apply for a physiotherapy placement you will be working to treat various different patients seeing and treating rare diseases. Leprosy is a big problem in some countries, you will work in a hospital or neurorehabilitation clinic helping local people who have this disease. Other things you might be treating include strokes, accident injuries, muscle spasm, musculoskeletal, post-operative rehabilitation, child cerebral and other palsies, lower back problems and fractures.
Placements are available in places like Africa which will leave you memories to last a lifetime. The experience and hospitals will be a lot different than what you are used to, you will get a real insight into life in a country you might not have expected. On these placements you will work in a regional government hospital and tend to around 20 patients per day learning new skills and really being able to make a difference to the lives of local people. On radiography electives you will get to working with local doctors and staff helping patients and using x ray machines, CT and MRI scanners. On these placements you might be doing any of the following / treating tuberculosis, brain lesions, tumours, breast screening, neuro-cysticercosis, traumatic injury and gross pathology.
Most programs are offered as part of a package which include pre-departure information, transfers, accommodation, meals and support. You can browse our opportunities and apply today. For all opportunities visit our volunteer abroad directory or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for advice about medical positions overseas.